More birds die in Meghalaya, test reports awaited

Shillong: Another 40 birds died Tuesday on a government-run farm in western Meghalaya, even as the state government awaited the test reports on earlier deaths to know whether they were due to bird flu, officials said.

"Forty more birds have died an unnatural death in the same farm at Williamnagar and we are yet to establish the cause of their death," Animal and Husbandry Director D. Lyngwa told IANS.

In the past few weeks, around 2,000 poultry birds have died on the farm at Williamnagar, the district headquarter of East Garo Hills, 312 km west of Shillong.

Samples have been sent to the Bhopal-based High Security Animal Disease Laboratory and the results are awaited.

"We have not decided to impose any restriction on consumption as we are yet to confirm exact cause of deaths of the birds in the area, but if the test proves positive, we will impose restrictions," Lyngwa said.

Moreover, he said that a rapid response team has been kept on standby in the district to deal with the unnatural deaths of thousands of birds.

Chief Secretary W.M.S. Pariat has directed district authorities in the three districts of Garo Hills to monitor the health of all the poultry birds following their unnatural deaths.

"The district administration has taken all precautionary measures and rapid response team has been geared up to take action in case the laboratory confirms bird flu," East Garo Hills district magistrate Praveen Bakshi told IANS.

He said a seven-kilometre radius of the area where the birds died has been kept under surveillance

"There is nothing panic and the district authorities are all geared up to meet any eventuality," Bakshi said.