All the three civic bodies in Delhi – north, south and east – on Wednesday banned the sale of chicken in their respective regions, following an outbreak of the avian influenza, or bird flu, in the national Capital, PTI reported. The municipal authorities have cautioned hotels and restaurants against serving poultry meat or egg-based dishes.
“All meat and poultry shops and meat processing units in areas under the NDMC [North Delhi Municipal Corporation], are prohibited to sell, store poultry or processed or packaged chicken meat with immediate effect, till further orders,” the North Delhi Municipal Corporation, which was the first civic body in Delhi to issue the directive, said in its order. The NDMC said that the order was issued in public interest and should be diligently complied with.
A South Delhi Municipal Corporation official said the civic body has also taken a decision to ban the sale and storage of poultry or processed chicken meat by shops and restaurants with immediate effect. “All restaurants are instructed not to serve poultry meat or eggs,” the SDMC order said, according to NDTV. “Whosoever defies the order, his/her trade licence will be suspended.”
East Delhi Mayor Nirmal Jain said the municipal body authorities have also decided to take the same decision in view of the situation in their area.
Earlier in the day, the Delhi Health Department issued an advisory asking citizens to follow a set of dos and don’ts, including stopping the consumption of half-cooked chicken, half-boiled or half-fried eggs. The department urged the people not to panic.
Delhi’s Animal Husbandry Department had said on Monday that the flu was confirmed after testing eight samples from dead crows and ducks. “All the samples tested positive for avian flu,” the department said.
Out of the eight samples, four were found from a park in Mayur Vihar Phase 3, three from Sanjay Lake and one from Dwarka, Dr Rakesh Singh from the animal husbandry unit of the Delhi Development Department said.
The Delhi Development Authority had also closed Hauz Khas Park, Dwarka Sector 9 Park, Hastsal Park and Sanjay Lake as a precautionary measure. The poultry market in Ghazipur has also been shut down temporarily.
On Monday, Animal Husbandry Minister Giriraj Singh had asked state governments to not shut down poultry markets or restrict sale of eggs or broiler chicken meat in the wake of the avian influenza outbreak. He had said that unfounded rumours about poultry products could have a cascading impact on the rural economy.
The bird flu outbreak has been confirmed in Delhi, Uttarakhand, Maharashtra, Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh.
While the avian influenza, also known as H5N1, poses no apparent threat to humans, its highly pathogenic strains can be deadly to domestic poultry and sometimes, wild birds. This has had an adverse impact on the poultry industry as authorities introduced restrictions to contain the spread of the contagion. Since January 6, prices of broiler chicken have crashed from around Rs 82 to Rs 58 per kg in Maharashtra, Rs 94 to Rs 65 in Gujarat, and Rs 80 to Rs 70 in Tamil Nadu.
The Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying has urged unaffected states to be on alert for unusual deaths among birds to contain the spread of the infection. In a statement, the ministry had said that it has issued advisories to these states to contain the spread of the infection.
According to the Centre’s advisory, samples of migratory, dead birds should be collected with utmost caution and under scientific supervision. It added that surveillance should be extended to all wetlands and habitats that host migratory birds and areas with any possibility of interaction of migratory and poultry birds. The affected states have also been asked to send weekly reports to the ministry.