FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
IMPHAL, April 20: Mass culling of the chickens and ducks at home and farms in the bird flu afflicted Imphal areas is yet to be seen. This is despite the decision of the high level meeting chaired by the chief secretary PC Lawmkunga on Sunday to cull the birds as a precautiory measure. Following the positive report of bird flu received by the ICAR on April 18 the government was galvanized into a flurry of activity. However the high sounding decisions are yet to be translated into actions.
The ubiquitous chicken shops within the 10 KM radius earmarked as infected zone were seen selling chicken as usual. Most of the meat sellers refused to comment except to say that they did not get any government notification to stop selling chickens. Some consumers flocking the meat shops also said that they were not aware of the government ban.
The high level meeting did not encompass the information and publicity department with the result that there was no proper and timely publicity. In normal circumstances people and meat sellers should have been warned by now using loud speakers and distributing leaflets. Even the local newspapers and correspondents of outside newspapers were not given the government notification. The reporters themselves had to dig out the information relating to the outbreak of bird flu. It is for the chief minister to explain to the people why there is news blackout on this disease despite the fact that it is life threatening. Meanwhile chickens, ducks and other birds are still smuggled from Myanmar without obstructions from the authority at Moreh and Pallel. Past experience had shown that these birds are highly susceptible to many deadly diseases which are transmitted to humans.