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J&K’s poultry sector takes a hit, as bird flu fears loom

Srinagar, Jan 12: After considerable market disruption due to the Covid-19 pandemic in Jammu and Kashmir’s poultry sector, the industry is now reeling under the threat of the bird flu infection.

People associated with the industry maintain that even as the entry of any poultry products into J&K has been banned, with not any confirmed case of bird flu reported here so far, most people in J&K have given up consumption of chicken and other poultry products.

Meanwhile, Kashmir Valley Poultry Farmers Association has formally written to the Commissioner Secretary for Animal Husbandry, J&K, Navin Chaudhary, for his intervention to give directions to government officials closing poultry farms without rhyme and reason in order to save the sector from bankruptcy.

“Sir, today at various places farmers and unit holders have complained that Tehsildars & Checking Squads etc are forcefully closing our farms/outlets, due to which remaining farmers etc are going to finish”, the association president, G. M. Bhat, wrote in the letter to the government, also emailed to Ziraat Times.

Bano Pratap, owner of Prem Poultry in Jammu city told the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) that the unrest created by the bird flu in various states of India is badly hitting the industry.

He said that rumours of bird flu in Jammu and Kashmir have reduced the number of customers by around 60 per cent.

“We have suffered huge losses during Covid-19 lockdown, even now we are unable to pay rent to shop owners, Pratap said, adding that, the government must inform people that no case of flu has been reported in J&K and consumption of poultry products is safe.

The owners of hotels and restaurants in different areas of Jammu and Kashmir also said that despite no cases in J&K, people have stopped eating poultry products which resulted in the reduction of over 50 per cent work.

Ishfaq Ahmad a poultry dealer from Pulwama said that most traders associated with poultry have themselves stopped selling poultry products after there was no demand for them.

“I used to sell at least 2 to 3 thousand chicken on daily basis days to traders but from last few days there is no demand for poultry products,” he said. “We have already suffered huge losses in last two years, we can’t bear any more losses.”

People associated with poultry requested government to look into the matter and help them financially so that they can heave a sigh of relief

It is pertinent to mention here that so far cases of bird flu have been reported from nine states of India.

—(With inputs from KNO)

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