Statesman News Service
NEW DELHI, Feb. 19.— With bird flu coming to India, the poultry industry today claimed there was no scientific evidence of bird flu and accused multi-national companies of trying to cash in on the panic situation. The National Egg Coordination Committee and Venkateswara Hatchery have rubbished claims of avian flu but said it could be Ranikhet disease that was affecting poultry chicken, a common phenomenon during this time of the year.
“It is not bird flu. We have the best labs. Not one case of bird flu has been detected,” a senior NECC official said while reacting to the panic across the nation. On orders given to cull thousands of poultry chicken in some areas of Maharashtra, the NECC has demanded that the government should at least submit one sample and test it.
The NECC suspected a nexus of MNC drug manufacturers who want to sell their products by spreading the rumour of avian flu. “If you give the vaccine now, it will show positive results of bird flu,” the NECC said. Venkateswara Hatcheries CEO, Mr OP Singh, said “I do not believe there is flu. We have reports that all the results were negative. So there is no scientific basis to bird flu.” Experts and scientists have not given any conclusive report, he said.
Mr Singh said if it is not substantially and scientifically evaluated any consequence will be completely detrimental to the livelihood of the poultry farming community.
At least 90-odd persons in some 30 countries who have so far died of this virus were bird handlers and no single human-to-human transmission has taken place. The commercial angle to the whole bird flu business “should be looked at very carefully,” he said.