Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir administration has lifted ban on import of poultry from non-infected areas and beyond the 10 kilometers radius of Bird Flu infected zones of other states.
In this regard, Principal Secretary, Animal Husbandry Navin K Choudhary issued an order lifting the ban on import of poultry into Jammu and Kashmir. Earlier the government had ordered a ban on import of poultry products following cases of bird flu reported in neighboring states of Himachal Pradesh and Haryana.
An order issued in this regards as “ in view of stringent surveillance mechanism in place for containment and spread of bird flu in the Country and the instructions as conveyed by the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairy, Government of India, there will be no ban on import of live birds including poultry and unprocessed poultry meat for any purpose into the Union Territory of J&K sourced from non-infected areas and beyond the 10 kilometers radius of Bird Flu infected zone w.e.f 19th January, 2021.”
“However, it is mandatory for the importers/ suppliers to provide a certificate from District Veterinary Officer/ Chief Animal Husbandry Officer of the concerned district of the sourced State/UT that the source of poultry is not from any infected area/suspected area and also not within 10 kilometers radius of notified Bird Flu infected zone.” The administration has further directed that Director Animal Husbandry Kashmir will setup a robust surveillance centre at Lower Munda to lift samples from each vehicle carrying poultry for testing and Director Animal Husbandry Jammu will further strengthen the surveillance system including testing of samples from each consignment at Lakhanpur. Further, all Chief Animal Husbandry Officers will make a system to visit poultry importers, poultry farms and sale points on daily basis for surveillance purpose.
However, the poultry dealers claim that the bird flu scare has reduced the demand of the chicken. “There is a misconception, which should be removed as a result of which poultry dealers and retailers are suffering losses. Government should create awareness among the masses informing that the consumption of poultry is safe,” Arshid Ahmad, a poultry dealer.
The Doctors Association of Kashmir has already stated that it is safe to eat properly cooked poultry meat. “There is no risk to catch the disease from eating poultry or poultry products,” said DAK President and influenza expert Dr Nisarul Hassan. “Bird flu is not transmitted through cooked food,” he said. “To date, there is no evidence that people have become infected after eating contaminated poultry meat that has been properly cooked.”
In Jammu and Kashmir 84% of the population is predominantly non-vegetarian. According to official reports of J&K’s animal and sheep husbandry department, J&K consumed 121 crore eggs and 7.4 crore Kg poultry meat in 2016-17. The last decade has witnessed tremendous growth in the poultry sector in J&K. Poultry farming has come up in a big way in Jammu, Kathua, Udhampur, Pulwama, Srinagar and Budgam districts with a large number of educated unemployed youth taking poultry farming as a sustainable means of earning their livelihood. Although Jammu and Kashmir has an enormous potential and conducive environment for poultry development on commercial lines as well as backyard poultry still there is a significant gap between requirement and production of poultry and poultry products.