It is ironical that bird flu should deal a crippling blow to the West Bengal countryside shortly after the Government of India declared that the country was free from the scourge.

KRISHNAGAR, Feb 13: A team of invigilators consisting of two members from Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) visited the Krishnagar-I block today, to review the preventive measures taken by the district administration in view of the resent outbreak of Avian Influenza. Dr Mahendra Singh Oberoy, from Kathmandu, Nepal and Dr Subhash Morzaria from Bangkok, Thailand are the two members of FAO, the UN body that concentrates on trans-boundary animal diseases. The current focus of the organisation is on Avian Influenza.

Krishnagar, Feb. 12: Thousands of families in the bird flu-hit blocks of Nadia run the risk of not getting the Rs 500 the government has promised as they had not reported the death of their backyard chickens. Tahamina Bibi had lost 15 chickens a fortnight before the flu was confirmed in Tehatta on January 19. She ate some and threw the rest in a field. The resident of Kanainagar, about 160km from Calcutta, is not sure if she would get the money as it will be difficult for her to prove the deaths.

Had your cereals? Krishnagar, Feb. 12: Two poultry owners starved nearly 1,500 birds to death in Ranaghat, Nadia, because they could not afford to feed and not sell them. The ban on sale and purchase of poultry birds was in force in Nadia from January 20. The district administration today confirmed that the chickens of Swapan Biswas and Ashish Sikdar of Panikhali village, about 70km from Calcutta, had died not of avian influenza but starvation.

KRISHNAGAR, Feb. 10: At a time when it was believed the state has succeeded to get rid of avian influenza after no unnatural deaths of chickens were reported over the past few days, fresh chicken deaths were reported today in Ranaghat-II block in Nadia. According to reports, over 1,300 chickens died of a mysterious disease in different poultry farms in Ranaghat-II block in Nadia. The symptoms of the disease are similar to avian influenza. The district authorities sent a team to collect samples and take note of the situation.

Arsenic has been found in groundwater in seven districts of West Bengal covering an area 37,493 km having about 34 million population. Our survey indicates that 560 villages are arsenic-affected and more than a million people are drinking arsenic contaminated water and more than 200,000 people are suffering from arsenic-related diseases.

KRISHNAGAR, Feb. 12: At a time when the critically endangered White-rumped Vulture Gyps, who were once a common sight in West Bengal, have indeed made a self-styled effort to be re-colonised in the Banguria forest near Bethuadahari Wildlife Sanctuary (BWS) in Nadia, hectic preparations are on to catch the spotted deer inside the sanctuary for its census after a long gap of seven years.