New Delhi, Jan 9 (IANS) In the wake of the bird flu scare in the national capital, the Delhi government on Saturday banned the import of live birds into the city, while assuring the citizens that all necessary measures are being taken to tackle the disease.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal made the announcement through a digital press conference and made it clear that "there is not a single confirmed bird flu case in Delhi so far".
As a precautionary measure, the Chief Minister said the government has decided to impose a complete ban on the import of live birds into the city with immediate effect. Kejriwal also announced the closure of the Ghazipur chicken mandi for the next 10 days.
"Delhi government is taking all necessary measures to stop the spread of bird flu in the national capital. There is nothing to worry. We are keeping track of the disease," he said.
The Chief Minister added that a 24-hour helpline 23890318 has been set up to provide assistance to the people.
He said the Delhi government has collected 104 samples till now and they have been sent to Jalandhar to be tested in a laboratory.
"In the last few days, there have been several cases of bird flu across various parts of the country, which is a cause of worry. Cases of bird flu have been registered in Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan. No confirmed case of bird flu has been registered in Delhi until now. We have collected around 104 samples until now, which have been sent to Jalandhar for testing and examination in a laboratory. Upon receiving the results day after tomorrow, the Delhi government will take all decisions and measures based on the results," Kejriwal said.
Kejriwal said the Delhi government is following all guidelines and directions issued by the Central government with regard to the bird flu.
He said that rapid response teams have been formed in every district to contain the spread of bird flu, if any, and conduct proper surveillance. They will function under the district magistrates.
"Our veterinary officers are conducting proper surveys in all bird markets, wildlife establishments and water bodies across Delhi. The special focus of the teams is poultry market, Ghazipur, Shakti Sthal Lake, Bhalswa Lake, Sanjay Lake, Delhi Zoo, DDA parks situated at Hauz Khas village, Pashchim Vihar and Dwarka."
The announcement came amid reports of 24 crows being found dead at a park in Jasola area in south Delhi in the past three days. A total of 10 ducks were also found dead at the famous Sanjay Lake in Mayur Vihar area in east Delhi. The samples of the dead ducks have been sent to the concerned lab to ascertain if they died from bird flu.
The forest department of the Delhi government has been informed about the death of the ducks and employees of the Delhi Development Authority, which owns a large number of parks in the city, are monitoring the situation.
In the past few days, at least 35 crows have died in Delhi. Their samples have also been sent for testing.
On Friday, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had instructed the officials to maintain a strict vigil on birds at the major bird sites, especially poultry markets, water bodies, zoos and other potential hotspots.
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