The Assam government’s decision to halt the import of chickens from Bengal has dealt a significant blow to poultry merchants and farm owners, resulting in substantial financial losses. The move comes in response to reported cases of bird flu in neighbouring states such as Jharkhand and Bihar. In an effort to prevent the spread of the disease, Assam has banned the entry of chickens from other states, adversely affecting poultry businesses and farm owners in Bengal.
The Assam government issued a notification prohibiting the transportation of chickens from West Bengal across the state border. This measure has had a direct impact on poultry businesses and farm owners in West Bengal. A considerable quantity of poultry birds are exported to Assam from North Bengal. However, since the ban was imposed on March 6, poultry farm owners in North Bengal have been facing significant challenges. They are unable to transport chickens through Assam to other states in Eastern India, as there are no alternative routes available. This has exacerbated the difficulties faced by these businessmen.
Asim Das, a poultry businessman, stated that he owns around 100 poultry farms, where a large number of marketable poultry and Sonali hens are produced daily. However, for the past three months, the supply of chickens has been disrupted, leading to substantial financial losses. Moreover, chickens cannot be sent to other states in Eastern India due to the restrictions imposed by Assam. If this situation persists, poultry farming operations may come to a halt. As a result, Das urged the government to address this issue promptly and provide the necessary support to mitigate the losses incurred by the poultry industry.
Ashit Ghosh, Secretary of the North Bengal Poultry Farmer Association, stated: “There are more than 10,000 poultry businessmen in North Bengal who supply broiler chicken to northeastern states such as Assam, Tripura, Meghalaya, Mizoram, and Manipur. From Malda to Alipurduar there are around 20 lakh farmers in North Bengal associated with this industry. About 80 per cent of their business depends on the northeastern states, as there is a big market for broiler chicken.”
Every day, around 80-100 trucks of poultry are sent to Assam and other northeastern states from North Bengal districts. Each truck contains 2000 kg of live broiler chicken and ‘Sonali’ chicken. “Following the ban on transit of poultry from Bengal to Assam, the poultry industry is suffering more than Rs 2 crore loss every day,’’ added Mr. Ghosh.