Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Anbumani Ramadoss today said that farmers who had suffered huge losses due to the culling of their poultry need to be adequately compensated.
Addressing the inaugural session of the inter-ministerial conference on Avian and Pandemic Influenza, Ramodoss said: "The programme recognising the culling of the birds will succeed if a system of adequately compensating the poultry farmers is put in place and the plan is actively activated immediately after the outbreak."
"The plan emphasises that any expenditure incurred on compensation is more than justified by way of bringing over effective control over it. In addition, compensation should be paid for feed and feed material destroyed in the operation as well. The Government of India gave more than two million dollars as compensation for poultry and feed material in 2006. Over 250, 000 dollar was paid for the bird cull in the 2007 outbreak," he added.
The meeting will also look into issues of preparing for a possible human pandemic and how to increase assistance to countries facing the social and economic consequences of widespread poultry losses and a potentially catastrophic influenza pandemic.
Scientists fear it is only a matter of time before the virus mutates into a form that passes easily among people, triggering a pandemic. Millions could die and economies would be crippled if that happens.
The inaugural plenary session was attended by representatives from over 100 countries.
Union Agriculture and Food Minister Sharad Pawar, Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan, World Health Organisation (WHO), Jacques Diouf, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Dr.Bernard Wallat, World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) also participated in the function.
The conference has 12 sessions on various subjects pertaining to Avian and Pandemic Influenza. A Road Map prepared by India will be presented to the conference on December 6.
Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh will address the delegates on December 5.