The farmer, an owner of one of the biggest poultry farms in Charmile village, had to cull at least 550 chickens, after the chickens were found to be affected by Ranikhet disease. He died at the Burdwan Medical College hospital after the doctors life-saving attempts ended up in vain.
'My father was depressed. He had borrowed over Rs one lakh to raise nearly 650 chicks. Suddenly, some were affected by the Ranikhet disease. This happened five days after the bird flu scare hit India on February 18,' said Sunil, the eldest of Shaktinath's sons.
'He decided to slaughter the affected chicks immediately and buried them. But the villagers were not convinced. They egged him on to kill more. Later officials intervened, and finally 550 chickens had to be culled in three phases,' said Sandhya Rani, his wife.
Shaktinath had borrowed approximately 70% of the amount need to buy and feed the chickens. Following the massive culling of all his poultry, he had no other option left but to resort to this extreme step.