Bird Flu Menace Will Be Sorted Out Within 5 Days: Minister

**Bhubaneswar:** After the fowl-culling was halted due to stiff resistance by the villagers on the first day of its drive demanding compensation, the culling operation resumed on Wednesday in Keranga village of Odisha’s Khurda district in a bid to curb spreading of bird flu virus.

Briefing media at the State Secretariat here, Fisheries & Animal Resources Development Minister Pradeep Maharathy said, “As many as 260 chickens were culled till noon. A compensation of Rs 90 from the State Government and Rs 25 from Red Cross is being provided for culling of each fowl and the situation would be under control within 4-5 days.”

“Not only fowl culling, but also for guarding the health of the villagers, State Government has deployed five teams. Bleaching of the places is underway,” the Minister added.

Notably, the villagers had on Tuesday opposed the culling operation demanding compensation proportional to the cost of each chicken culled. They also demanded demolition of poultry farm on the outskirts of village claiming that the virus started spreading after the farm was set up following which Khurda Collector Niranjan Sahu and other officials of the district administration held a meeting with the villagers the very evening.

As the district administration promised them better compensation from Red Cross, the opposing villagers agreed to cooperate in the culling process.

It may be recalled that process for culling of chickens in the village within a radius of one km was initiated after four dead crows and three dead poultry tested positive for the highly pathogenic H5N1 virus (bird flu virus).

Ten rapid response teams have been mobilised for the culling operation in the area. More than 1,200 chickens will be culled during the operation, officials said.

Fisheries & Animal Resources Development Secretary Bishnupada Sethi had said on Tuesday that Keranga village is the epicentre of bird flu for which the State Government has directed for poultry culling within the radius of one kilometre for its containment adding that for the first time in the current season this type of bird flu has been detected there.

A similar outbreak was reported in the region in 2012-13.

A control room has been set up at the Directorate of Animal Husbandry to monitor the situation and to disseminate information, sources said.