Shillong, Jan 18: Meghalaya Veterinary and Animal Husbandry department is closely monitoring the ‘avian flu’ outbreak in the contiguous states like Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal and has put a hold on imports of bird and eggs from outside the State.
In an exclusive interview to Hub News, Principal Secretary of the department GHP Raju said that the government department is careful on two fronts which is firstly the import of the birds from states such as Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu including West Bengal which are the main suppliers of the live poultry birds and eggs to the state of Meghalaya.
“As a precaution, till the mainland states give a clean chit that there is no more bird flu, we have no choice but to stop the import of live birds as well as the eggs. We do not have any wherewithal or the mechanism to check each and every bird or egg entering the state. It is just not possible for us. Hence, as a precaution we have stopped the import of these live birds as well as eggs into the state especially from the mainland”, he said.Raju said that it is unfortunate that the bird flu which affects the poultry has no vaccine and the only thing available with the government department is to take preventive steps to ensure that the bird flu does not spread.
No ban on imports of birds from NE States
However, there is no ban of the birds from Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Tripura, Mizoram.
Raju said that the government will have no choice but to prevent the import of birds from the State where positive cases of bird flu are detected.
Bio-security is very stringent
Raju said that bio-security is very stringent and efforts are to made to stop physical contamination. He added that detailing the health and hygiene conditions of the workers in the poultry farms is important.
Sounding optimistic, he said, “This is a temporary phase, hopefully in the next two to three weeks, the situation will come to normal.”
Increase in market rate
On increase in the market rate of Chicken, Raju said that there is slight increase in the market price of chicken meat due to the import ban of poultry and eggs.
“People’s consumption of poultry meat and poultry products like eggs have dipped…the demand has also dipped because the people do not want to take a chance when there is alternative to chicken such as beef, pork, mutton available in the state”, he added.
He said that though there is a downtrend in the demand, the department does not foresee any sudden panic or sudden shortfall of the demand because there is a natural reduction in the consumption of poultry and poultry products.
“Whatever birds available in our state as well as birds supplied from Assam, Mizoram, Tripura, I am very sure that the demand can be met”, he said.
A few chicken sellers said that the sale of chicken is down. One of the chicken sellers, I. Shabong said, “The sale of chicken is not much as the price has increased as the borders are close”.