The Centre today ordered the culling of domesticated birds, and ordered the shutdown of all poultry shops in Manipur, following the outbreak of bird flu in the State.
Most poultry shops in State capital Imphal remained closed for the second consecutive day on Friday. Shops of small poultry dealers in the traditional Murgi Bazar of Khwairamband Market remained closed, affecting small-scale poultry business.
"It's been three days and we have not made any sale. Most of our chickens are lying at home and maybe some of them are dead too," claimed Kamalud-din, a poultry trader.
Poultry dealers feel the prices of chicken may fall drastically, as consumers are wary of eating chicken. Markets have experienced sluggish sales since reports of bird flu were confirmed on July 25.
"Chickens are not available in the market anymore. The Government has imposed a ban on its sale. The police have shutdown all poultry shops. We are unable to sell them. Some customers do come. But they account for only one in 100," said I. Dolen Singh, a poultry shop owner.
Over 9,000 chickens have been killed in and around Chingmeirong village on the outskirts of Imphal, before being thrown into huge pits and then covered with lime, salt and soil.
People working in the poultry unit or veterinary workers dealing with the outbreak are not showing flu symptoms, but they have been given the anti-flu drug 'Tamiflu'.
In New Delhi, though there was no report of avian flu, traders are taking all measures to check the spread of bird flu.
Confirmation of the H5N1 strain came after authorities received the results from two Government laboratories. In Imphal, a town of some 200,000 people, many residents have stopped buying chicken and eggs, important items in the diet of a majority of people in the state.
In the past, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Pakistan have also witnessed outbreaks of the H5N1 strain of bird flu.
New Delhi has banned poultry trade with bird flu-hit nations such as China, Bangladesh and Myanmar, but officials are worried about people bringing poultry illegally across the frontiers.