Balurghat, Feb. 18: Culling began, though slowly, one year after the operation was carried out in South Dinajpur when the bird flu virus had hit the poultry at the state-run farm here. (Snip) the virus was detected 90km from here at Baramhar village in Harirampur. Since last Wednesday, hundreds of chickens have been dying in the area causing panic. It was only yesterday that the district administration was told about the outbreak of the disease over the phone by the animal resources development department in Calcutta.

Like 2008, this year too saw a lot of waiting and mulling by the officials of the ARD department. There are fears that many people had taken their birds away to avoid giving them up. This was evident from the fact that only 200 chickens could be culled till noon although the operation had begun at 8pm.
However, the sources said after the last census, the number had gone up sharply and could be more than double the previous count. Local gram panchayat pradhan Nilufa Islam said the birds had either been sold in areas outside the culling zone or kept somewhere. She alleged that the bird flu spread from chicken that were smuggled in from Narhatta in Malda in December last year. (Snip)

Maity said the culling would be carried out at night as well. He informed journalists that 60 more health workers were camping at the Kasba High School.