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Pune Govt Prepares for Influenza

by 5m Editor
23 September 2009, at 10:14am

MAHARASHTRA, INDIA - The state government is planning to introduce a bill to regularise the poultry and pig industries ahead of any possible outbreak on H1N1 flu.

The state animal husbandry department has decided to replicate the Karnataka state model to regularise poultry and piggery sectors, according to Times of India.

The proposal to regularise the poultry industry, which was mooted when the avian flu struck in 2006, was gathering dust till the H1N1 flu broke out.

Vasant Ramteke, additional commissioner of the state animal husbandry department, said: "Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh have a policy for poultry regulation and development and the states have introduced some laws for it. The Maharashtra government wants to study them and the guidelines introduced by the Karnataka government. A bill based on the guidelines will be drafted."

The first meeting for preparing the draft is scheduled for today (23 September). "We were planning to meet in August but could not do so because of other priorities. But with the first meeting scheduled on Wednesday, we will speed up the process," said Mr Ramteke.

The department has appointed Mr Ramteke as chairman of the experts committee for drafting the bill. He said: "As there are hardly any piggeries in other parts of the country, the department will draft a bill for regulation of piggeries on its own."

The experts committee will draft a bill in six months that will be presented to the state government for approval. The move assumes significance in the backdrop of H1N1 flu outbreak in the state.

The expert committee will comprise senior professionals from disease control division, poultry development division and veterinary doctors.

"Pig farming is a scattered business in the state. Hence, piggeries are not on the surveillance system of the department. Once the bill is passed, it will become mandatory for all piggery owners to register themselves with the department. This in turn will help keep a check on outbreak of diseases or viral infections among pigs," said officials in the department.

Elaborating on the benefits of such an act to Times of India, officials said: "The greatest benefit will be disease surveillance and control. Besides, regular inspection, scientific rearing methods, monitoring of hygienic conditions are few other issues covered."

At present, the department does not have any control over piggeries. Unless a law is in place, the piggery owners will never come forward to register themselves, officials stated.