Sneaky Burial of Flu-Infected Birds in Ahmedabad Has Locals Scared

Over 160 infected birds were culled and secretly buried near a residential colony in Memnagar, Ahmedabad.

Health News
2 min read
A health worker is seen giving ‘medicine’ to the chickens at a poultry farm. Image used for representation. (Photo: Reuters)

Members of the Sudha Kunj Society in Memnagar, Ahmedabad, line the road outside their home, wearing masks and holding up placards that read ‘Save Us’.

The residents are protesting the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation’s method of handling the bird flu threat in their locality. Only a six-foot road separates their residential complex from an open ground where culled birds were buried after the spread of avian influenza.

The Sarva Dharma Rakshak Seva Trust runs a bird shelter on this ground, where over 200 guinea fowls were brought from nearby Vastral area, after a trucker dumped them in early January.

On 12 January, nearly 1,500 birds had been culled at Hathijan on Ahmedabad’s outskirts after the bird flu infection was detected. The residents are upset that it took so long to take action in their area and that the infected birds were discreetly culled and buried in the ground.

At the spot where the birds have been buried, the AMC has put up posters prohibiting people from entering the area as it was bird-flu-infected. There are, however, still tented enclosures that were used to cure injured birds.

(Photo: iStock)
(Photo: iStock)

The ground is surrounded by high-rise buildings. A municipal park across the road also has its entry restricted now, though resident Nilaben Mehta told The Indian Express that the municipal party plot across the road held wedding functions as recently as Thursday night. The highly populated area also has a private school.

The animal husbandry department, along with AMC teams and local police, culled 160 birds and buried them in the ground, in the dead of the night. Two nights later, 64 more birds, found in a school near the ground, were culled and buried.

In the backdrop of this ‘surreptitious’ burying was the ongoing Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit (VGGS).

Resident Munjal Mehta said that in the first three days since the birds were buried, fogging was done thrice or four times a day.

Now it’s done hardly once a day. When the area is sealed for a month that means the virus is active till that time. Then how can the AMC authorities be so casual about our lives? Stray dogs are freely roaming in and out of the ground.

Another resident, Shalin Zariwala, said:

Around midnight on 12 January when I first spotted a lot of activity, with JCB machines and police vehicles here, I enquired as to what was going on. But without revealing anything, the police asked me to go away.

Other residents question how the sealed area could be opened up two days later to bury more birds. Two petitions have been filed in the Gujarat High Court.

In the meantime, AMC health officer Dr Bhavin Solanki said the culling operations were kept secret to avoid public panic.

The second burying of birds was not done at the same spot where earlier 160 birds were buried, but in the same premises as per the Government of India guidelines.
Dr Bhavin Solanki

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