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    Bird flu: Culling in capital to begin today

    BHUBANESWAR: With the Central advisory in hand, the Odisha Government on Saturday gave a go-ahead to culling of poultry birds in 3-km radius of the Central Poultry Development Organisation (CPDO) here, where the avian influenza was detected yesterday. At the same time, culling will also be taken up at the OUAT bird farm.After receiving the Ministry of Agriculture’s instructions, the Fisheries and Animal Resources Development department asked the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) and Khurda District Administration to chalk out plans and carry out the culling, which will start from Sunday. At least 29,857 birds in CPDO, a Government of India undertaking, will be culled in phases, besides those in the neighbourhood.Since the area in the 3-km radius has been declared as alert zone, all poultry birds and product shops are being closed down. As many as 29 wards of the BMC will come under the alert zone. The health as well as district administration will ensure that movements of poultry birds and products are restricted. Municipal Commissioner Vishal Dev will be the chief coordinator for the whole exercise. The CPDO and OUAT farm premises have open spaces where mass burial pits will be created. Culling will start in CPDO and OUAT on Sunday. In the wards, it will begin on Monday. There are approximately 7,000 birds in the impact zone and most of them are in slum areas. Salia Sahi, with a population of over 2 lakh, could be the major challenge for the administration.As part of bio safety measures, the CPDO personnel, who work as handlers of the poultry, will remain under observation since H5N1 virus is virulent though human transmission is remote.