Tripura on fresh bird flu alert, bans poultry imports

Tripura on fresh bird flu alert, bans poultry importsAgartala, Nov 19 - Sounding a fresh bird flu alert, the Tripura government has imposed a ban on import of poultry birds, ducks and other poultry products from West Bengal and Assam, an official said Saturday.

"The ban on import of poultry and bird flu alert was sounded earlier this week following the outbreak of the avian influenza in neighbouring Assam and West Bengal," the animal resource development department official told reporters.

"Bird flu was officially detected and confirmed recently in certain parts of Nadia district in West Bengal and Dhubri district in western Assam," he added.

The official said said the Tripura government has set up check gates at the border and entry points in the state's northern part adjoining Assam, and asked security forces to maintain a strict vigil along the India-Bangladesh borders to prevent the import of poultry and poultry products.

However, the state would allow import of poultry products and birds from Andhra Pradesh (from where the maximum amount of poultry birds and poultry products were being supplied to northeastern states) and other states excluding Assam and West Bengal.

Meanwhile, the Tripura government has urged the central government to bear the entire cost of compensation to the northeastern states.

"As India's northeastern states bordering Bangladesh have become vulnerable to bird flu with the contiguous disease outbreak intermittently across the border and as well as the smuggling of poultry products into India, the centre should bear the full costs of compensation," Agriculture and Animal Resource Development Minister Aghore Debbarma said.

"With the sporadic outbreak of bird flu, thousands of poor poultry cultivators have been affected in Tripura and other northeastern states.

The contiguous disease has also been affecting the fragile economy of the northeastern region," the minister said here at a meeting.

Four states - Tripura, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Assam, which shares 1,880-km border with Bangladesh - were occasionally affected by avian influenza forcing the authorities to cull lakhs of poultry birds and ducks besides destroying huge quantities of poultry products.

The department official said that as regards of compensation for loss of poultry on account of culling and destruction of birds, the rate of compensation - 50:50 between central government and state government - has been indicated to the state governments by the central government.(IANS)