Sunday, March 5, 2017

Avian flu: HC bans bird treatment camps in residential areas

 In order to prevent the possibility of avian influenza, Gujarat high court on Thursday directed concerned authorities not to permit any NGO or individual to hold camps for treating birds within residential areas, even during Uttarayan festival.

The HC issued the directive in response to PILs complaining of inaction on part of authorities and allegedly wrong decision taken in January to bring birds, in which H5N1 virus had been detected, to Memnagar from a facility of Asha Foundation in Vastral.

To rule out any possibility of recurrence of bird flu in the area that has already witnessed its outbreak, the HC has asked authorities to follow the Action Plan laid down by the Centre and to carry out post-operative surveillance in sensitive zone for a period of three months. Every fortnight, samples of the birds from the surveillance zone should be collected and sent to the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD), Bhopal for testing.

The concerned authorities can declare the status of such zone as "Disease Free" only after no other outbreak takes place in the area or the samples collected for three months are tested negative after issuance of Sanitization Certificate.
After the outbreak of bird flu in Memnagar, which was declared on January 12, the authorities issued Sanitation Certificate for the zone on January 29.

The petitioners - a 96-year-old resident of Memnagar, Bhagwatiben Brahmbhatt, and an advocate, K K Shah - complained that the authorities were not doing enough to curb the spread of bird flu. In fact, they alleged that the decision to bring birds to a Memnagar camp set up by an NGO, Sarva Dharma Raksha Seva Trust from Asha Foundation's campus in Vastral was wrong. This is because by the time the birds were shifted, avian influenza had already been detected in birds kept in Vastral.

The petitioners alleged that the state government and Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) had delayed the declaration about spread of the disease because they had waited for the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit (VGGS) to be over. Thus, they had put people's lives to risk.

The state government, on the other hand, insisted that its reaction had been prompt and it had followed the guidelines and did all that was required to curb the spread of the disease.

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