Bird flu scare in Delhi: Arvind Kejriwal announces ban on import of live birds; poultry sales drop by 50%

In view of the spread of bird flu in several states across the country, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday announced a ban on the import of live birds in the national capital and said that the Ghazipur poultry market will remain closed for 10 days.

"The import of live birds is being banned in Delhi. The Ghazipur poultry market will remain closed for 10 days," he said.

"We have sent some samples to a lab in Jalandhar, the reports will come by the day after tomorrow. The Delhi Government will take the necessary decision based on those reports. So far we have not detected any case of bird flu but we have sent 104 samples to a lab in Jalandhar and we are awaiting the results," he added.

The Chief Minister said that the Delhi government is adhering to the guidelines issued by the Central government. "The central government has issued several guidelines regarding the spread of bird flu and we are closely following them." "Teams have been formed in every district of the national capital under the supervision of respective district magistrates for surveillance and containment purposes. Rapid response team has been formed which is working in full swing," Kejriwal added.

He said veterinary officers are visiting bird markets and wildlife establishments and the visits are mainly focused on poultry market Ghazipur, Shakti Sthal lake, Sanjay lake, Bhalswa lake, Delhi zoo and DDA park at Hauz Khaz village.

"We have also established a 24/7 helpline 23890318. We are getting news of the death of the birds from different parts of Delhi, especially crows," Kejriwal said.

With the anxiety of bird flu or avian influenza spreading fast, people are not buying eggs and chickens much, which gave a fresh blow to the poultry industry.

"The sale of eggs has dropped from 200-300 trays per day to just 100-150 per day in last two days as the scare of bird flu has increased," said Vinod, an egg dealer adding that the sale was hit by up to 50 per cent.

"In just last four days, the sale per day has come down to Rs 2,000 from Rs 10,000," informed Rajesh, a chicken shop owner at INA Market.

"We are no longer able to afford our rent and are facing a huge loss," he added.

Ashgar, another chicken shop owner in the same market, said the sale of chicken was hit by at least 80 per cent.

"Earlier, we used to sale 50 chickens every day, but now it has come down to 5 chickens in a day," Ashgar said.

Avian influenza, a viral infection affecting birds have caused thousands of deaths across India. It has been confirmed in Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Gujarat.

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