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New Animal Health Lab for Chennai

by 5m Editor
13 August 2009, at 11:35a.m.

INDIA - A new, highly biosecure animal health laboratory is to be set up near Chennai.

A world-class bio-safety lab (BSL-IV), adhering to international standards, will come up at Padappai, near Chennai, at a cost of 500 million ruppes (INR), rpeorts The Times of India. The high-tech lab will be the second of its kind in the country after the Bhopal-based High Security Animal Disease Laboratory (HSADL), which handles zoonotic cases.

Tamil Nadu animal husbandry and rural industries minister, Pongalur N. Palanisamy, said the certification of the lab would provide a boost to the state's poultry exports. On the debate on the grants for the animal husbandry department, Mr Palanisamy said the Centre had agreed to the setting up of the lab.

Commissioner of animal husbandry and veterinary services, M. Malik Feroze Khan, told The Times that the Central government would commence work on the lab in Kancheepuram district in four to five months. It will focus on research to identify viral strains during outbreaks, and help identify causes, and details of pathogens and viruses of new diseases.

The TN government has given 30 acres of land free of charge. "The establishment of the lab near Chennai will be helpful to the poultry industry as it can help in certifying Tamil Nadu as a zone free of avian influenza in case of outbreaks in other parts of the country," Minister Palanisamy said.

With the outbreak of avian influenza a couple of years ago, the poultry industry in the state, though unaffected by the disease, took a hit because of a slump in exports and domestic consumption.

Tamil Nadu is ranked second in egg and meat production in the country, with Namakkal finding a place in the world egg export map. The state has a poultry population of about 86 million, of which the commercial poultry population is about 67 million. About 8.4 billion eggs are produced by the state and approximately 1.08 billion of these are exported. Meat export from the state touches around 600 tonnes every year.

Minister Palanisamy told The Times that there is good potential for the export of eggs, egg products and frozen chicken to Gulf countries and Russia. The government had issued a number of health certificates to commercial poultry farms to give a boost to egg exports.

The government was also planning to construct a cold storage unit for eggs at Namakkal, at a cost of INR 100 millione under a public-private partnership agreement.