Bird flu scare grips Chembur, Deonar residents

Amid bird flu scare, dead crows trigger panic in areas of Deonar and Chembur. Soon after the reports of the dead crows found in Chembur on Sunday afternoon testing positive for avian influenza, residents of Chembur and Deonar complain of more dead crows in their vicinity.

Residents of these areas claim carcasses of dead crows lying in the vicinity and they have no clue what to do, who will dispose of these dead birds.

On Monday afternoon two crows were found dead in the compound of Saras Baug near Anushakti Nagar in Deonar. In wake of bird flu alerts across the country, none of the residents ventured near the spot to even verify locals said.

Ronnie Bhaumik, resident of Saras Baug, said that people even feared to click pictures of the dead birds for record or evidence to show the BMC. "Panic has gripped the locality. However, the bigger concern here is that we are clueless whom to approach, some of the residents even tried to contact BMC. The carcasses are lying in the compound and need to be disposed of."

Bhaumik added, "None of us is sure if the two birds died of H5N1 infection (avian influenza). However, that possibility cannot be ruled out too, this has spread fear in the area. We need clarity whom to approach for help."

Another resident of Mahul said that around two crows and a pigeon were found dead in one of the residential colonies in Mahul, while four crows and another six were found outside another two residential society, respectively.

The bird flu cases have been confirmed in Mumbai city and Thane as some samples of dead crows and birds from the region have tested positive for avian influenza on Monday. As many as 11 crows were found dead in Mumbai's Chembur area on Sunday. Before that 13 birds had died in Thane.

The Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) has set-up a control room and has appealed to people to promptly report any case of bird deaths in the city. However, BMC is yet to come out with any such advisory of bird flu dedicated control room to assist residents leaving them clueless.

A BMC official said that the area where the crows were found dead on Sunday afternoon is known to be a "highly polluted" area. "The carcasses of two of the 11 crows found dead did test positive for Avian influenza, however, with dumping ground around, Mahul-Trombay industrial area nearby dead birds due to pollution can be possible too. Currently, pollution is on rising in Mumbai. In winter, pollution increases. Let's not jump to a conclusion without evidence and spread panic."

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