No room for complacency
It has been almost ten months now that the entire world is fighting the deadly Covid-19 virus which not only consumed lakhs of people but crippled the entire world. Not only are businesses and other sectors hit but millions of people are facing threat to their livelihood and basic survival.
Since the advent of vaccine has generated some hope but the recent detection of Avian Influenza or bird flu has sent shock waves among the people who have panicked owing to the threat it offers.
In India ten states have confirmed bird flu cases with neighbouring Himachal Pradesh being one among them. Though Jammu and Kashmir does not import its poultry requirement from Himachal but the proximity of the place has caused a concern.
What is more worrying is that several places in the Jammu division and some places in north Kashmir have witnessed untimely bird deaths that has made us to seek precautions and tread with caution.
In Rajouri and some other places in Jammu, besides several villages in Uri in north Kashmir bird deaths have been witnessed which has signaled a concern for all of us. Though as of now the national highway connecting Jammu with Srinagar is closed and the import of poultry has already been banned but the questions still remain as the transmission of bird flu is very fast as birds which act as the carriers can transcend vast distances in very short span of time.
Though officials have been saying that there is no need to panic as bird deaths in Jammu and Kashmir can occur due to cold conditions as various species of birds are faced with starvation owing to the heavy downpour and snow covered surfaces offering them no food at all.
However, the worries still remain as Kashmir can prove to be at risk as the region witnesses’ arrival of lakhs of migratory birds who are attracted to the various wet lands here. In Hokersar Wetland almost 1.5 Lakh birds of different species are presently stationed for breeding as well as winter nesting.
Similarly, other wetlands are also swarmed by these winged visitors which makes us to act all the more cautiously and not wait for a disaster to happen.
Though the administration has announced formation of a squad of experts from the Institute of Animal Health and Biological Products (IAH&BP), Zakura of Animal Husbandry Department, Kashmir in coordination with the Wildlife Protection Department, the team needs to act proactively and professionally.
The task force that has been set-up should initiate random sampling and set in motion a sustained surveillance and Monitoring system for early detection of Bird Flu or any traces of it.
Besides, a lab testing facility should also be setup on emergency basis as the officials here have to send the samples collected for Avian Influenza to High Security Animal Disease Lab, Bhopal and RDDL Jalandhar for confirmation.