Despite ample warning signs, the Department of Animal Husbandry was caught unawares when bird flu finally struck the state on Tuesday.
Even 48 hours after the first case surfaced in the state, the department was yet to begin culling of infected birds. As many as 50,000 birds are to be culled at Alpha Poultry Farm and Royal Poultry Farm in Behra village of Dera Bassi.
At the department headquarters, officials were today seen imparting basic training such as wearing PPE kits while culling infected birds, to the teams. The department had constituted 25 teams for the job.
The department was informed about the H5N8 strain in birds at two poultry farms on Tuesday. However, it failed to issue the mandatory notification for culling till Thursday evening.
Until the government issues a notification under The Prevention and Control of Infectious and Contagious Diseases in Animals Act, 2009, a private establishment or poultry farm can refuse permission to officials from entering the premises.
The samples of a dead wild goose had tested positive for the virus earlier this week. Even before that, a large number of cases were reported from Haryana’s Barwala, a few kilometres from Dera Bassi, but the state’s Health Department failed to act.Meanwhile, Chief Secertary Vini Mahajan today directed that the department should take samples from all poultry farms of Punjab and get them tested from NRDDL, Jalandhar. All veterinary officers have been directed to take samples from poultry farms in their districts.