THIRUVANANTHAPURAM ( KERALA ): The Departments of Health and Animal Husbandry on Wednesday began culling of birds in three districts in Kerala, where the outbreak of avian influenza has been detected, but the efforts to contain the pathogenic virus was hit by protest by duck farmers and shortage of protective gear and medicine.
The Cabinet on Wednesday hiked the compensation for ducklings less than two-months-old to Rs 100 from the earlier Rs 75. The compensation for fully-grown ducks has been fixed at Rs 200.
In Purakkad, locals led by the panchayat president began culling of infected birds, but the measure had to be called off after protest by duck farmers. Culling could only be resumed at 1 pm after rapid response teams constituted by the state government began their operation.
The District Collector issued arrest orders against anyone found to be disrupting officials from carrying out culling and disinfection in affected areas as the tension continued. Farmers approached the authorities again to protest after they felt that no stock of culled birds were being taken.
Dr Jyothikumar who led the team said that they have taken stock of the ducks killed in Purakkad. “The absence of proper preventive gear and medicines delayed the culling of ducks,” he said.
Though bird flu was detected in Bhagavathypadam in Mullackal village and ward 3 in Nedumudi panchayat and Mukkayil paddy field culling could be carried out only in Purakkad. AHD officials said that there was shortage of mandatory protective gear and medicines and this hindered culling.
In Ayamanam in Kottayam, a total of 1,290 ducks were culled and burnt on the first day of containment operation.