Incompetency comes to the fore on Day I of culling process
New findings indicate virus strain could be H5NI,
pathetic lack of co-ordination makes a mockery of efforts
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, July 26: Even as the Union Ministry of Agriculture today informed the State Government that the virus strain found in the samples may be H5N1, which is believed to be more contagious and could infect human more easily than the H5 strain, the culling process which was supposed to have been carried out in Imphal West and Imphal East today turned out to be an eye sore with complete lack of co-ordination at the ground level between the different arms of the Government.

Though the guidelines laid down by the Centre categorically states that culling should start immediately on receiving the official report, culling only started from 4 pm today.

Even as the bird flu report was received slaughtered chicken put up for sale in Imphal and the equipments arriving at the airport and Vety Dir briefing the media

The report confirming the presence of the virus that causes bird flu was received at Imphal on July 25 at 12.15 ! While officials of the Veterinary Department and personnel of its Rapid Response Team were ready by 9 am, officials from the Health Department arrived only after 10 am.

The presence of the Health officials was necessary for the health check up of the RRT members and administration of Tamiflu.

The delayed start meant that the RRT personnel could only be pressed into service from 2 pm today.

Even the clause which advises that the personnel should wait for some time after consuming Tamiflu was violated as time was running out.

The undue delay in starting the culling process meant that the State Government was not able to give the updated report sought by the Centre at 12 pm today.

Amid the confusion and chaos, what added to the spectacle, was the open revolt by the locals of Chingmeirong.

The local people of Chingmeirong were visibly angry that the culling process did not cover their area today.

Their line of argument is that since the bird flu was first detected at a farm at their locality, the culling process should have started from their locality.

As no RRT personnel came to Chingmeirong even late into the evening today, the angry residents surrounded the Director and the Joint Director of the Veterinary Department to present their case and demanded an explanation.

Speaking to reporters, the angry residents said that a number of people in the locality are down with fever, the cause of which is yet to be worked out.

The local people have also opened a relief camp at the Sinam Shama Memorial Hall.

Nine teams of RTT were pressed into service in Imphal East while eight teams were deployed at Imphal West.

Departing from the guidelines, the areas where the culling process was taken was not cordoned off and there was free movement of people.

Culling will continue tomorrow, said officials from the Veterinary Department and added that RRT personnel were work till late into the evening.

While the culled birds from Imphal West were buried at a site at Iroishemba for Imphal East the culled birds were buried at different locations as per the convenience of the team.

At the Central Poultry Farm located at Mantripukhri a total of 2893 fowls including chicks were culled while 937 eggs were destroyed.

The culled birds and the eggs were buried inside a pit within the premises of the farm.

Even as the culling process was on the Control room opened at the office of the Veterinary Department received 38 calls today informing about the deaths of chicken and ducks.

As per the information received at the Control room, 20 chickens perished at a farm at Kongba out of 30 birds reared there while a report from Lilong said that 15 ducks perished this morning.

This is apart from the report of the death of 200 fowls at Churachandpur.

One wild bird was also brought to the Veterinary hospital in a dying state.

Other places which reported deaths of fowls are Uripok 5/6, Oinam Thingel four, Nagamapal 500 chicks, Sapermeina six ducklings.

Reports are still pouring in.

To over see the action taken up by the State, a team from the Central arrived at Imphal today.

Meanwhile, the Secretary of the Health Dept has issued a circular stating that the Vety and AH Department may bury the culled birds at suitable sites, the Vety and AH Department and not the Health Department shall the take the decision of where to bury the culled birds and in all respect of battling the bird flu, the directives of the Vety and AH Department shall prevail.

The Secretary of the Veterinary Department has also informed the DCs of Imphal East and West that the distance to carry the dead birds should be minimised, proper recording of number and type of birds and instant payment of compensation at the notified rates, special care for burial of killed birds, make sure that no birds are left in the infected zones, that is within the 5 km radius from Chingmeirong, and effective enforcement of orders for complete sealing on the movement of poultry birds and poultry products.

Members of the Royal Riders Association were seen distributing surgical masks to the passers by as part of their efforts in combating the disease.