The Ghazipur poultry market and others that were closed in Delhi as a precautionary measure in view of an Avian Influenza outbreak will be reopened, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has said.
The January 9 order, which also imposed restrictions on import of chicken from other states, was reversed hours after Delhi Animal Husbandry Unit confirmed that bird flu has not been detected in the poultry samples sent from the city.
“It means there is no spread of avian influenza in poultry birds in Delhi,” senior Animal Husbandry Unit officer Rakesh Singh said.
Samples taken from poultry markets have tested negative with respect to Bird Flu.
Have directed to open the poultry market & withdraw the orders to restrict trade & import of chicken stocks.
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) January 14, 2021
The order by Delhi’s three civic bodies — banning the sale, processing and packaging of poultry in their jurisdiction — will also be reversed today, Union Animal Husbandry Minister Giriaj Singh said.
He made the statement after meeting Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and city mayors.
On Wednesday, the BJP-governed agencies had warned hotels and restaurants against serving egg-based dishes or poultry meat and threatened with licence suspension if they fail to comply.
The confirmation that there is no Avian Influenza outbreak in Delhi’s poultry farms comes as a major relief for hundreds of farmers who trade at the Ghazipur chicken market – Asia’s largest.
It also allays fears of Delhi’s meat eaters, who had moved away from the protein to avoid potential transmission of the zoonotic disease. This despite central and state advisories assuring that eggs and chicken could be safely consumed after they were fully cooked as the virus is sensitive to heat.
Criticising the decision to close the Ghazipur market “without testing”, Union minister Giriraj Singh blamed the AAP government of spreading “panic in a 500-km area”.
“All orders to close poultry markets and ban sale will be revoked by evening. I request that no state takes a decision that creates panic. I hope that Delhi government’s decision to reopen Ghazipur Mandi would reassure people across the country,” Mr Singh said.
Delhi had sent 104 samples to a Jalandhar-based lab, and the results arrived on Wednesday evening.
“Of these, 100 samples were collected from 35 poultry birds in the Ghazipur market. All samples have tested negative for bird flu,” Animal Husbandry Unit officer Rakesh Singh said, adding that bird flu was suspected in the remaining four samples of Heron birds taken from a park.
They have been sent to Bhopal for confirmation, he said.
Bird flu has been confirmed in 10 states, including Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, prompting culling of birds, and the centre summoning state officials to examine the availability of animal vaccines in the country.