Tuesday, February 18, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Birds perish near slaughterhouse
Lalit Mohan

Nangal, February 17
Hundreds of birds have perished in the vicinity of the Nangal slaughterhouse allegedly due to insecticide poisoning. When this correspondent visited the site, today he saw hundreds of dead birds in the mango orchards surrounding the slaughterhouse.

Most of the dead birds were scavengers, including crows, hawks and vultures. The council authorities, which woke from slumber today, gathered 90 dead crows and one hawk from the vicinity of the slaughterhouse. Though no dead vulture could be found at the site council workers said they had seen them dying at a distance of about 2 km from the affected site near the foothills of the Shivaliks. The birds were dying even today in the vicinity of the slaughterhouse.

The dead birds were being devoured by stray animals.

The attendant at the slaughterhouse said the birds started dying yesterday after they allegedly consumed the waste meat thrown out of the slaughterhouse. He said the slaughterhouse authorities yesterday used insecticide to kill flies. That insecticide might have got mixed with the waste meat which these birds ate.

He showed Baytex insecticide which was used by the slaughterhouse authorities to kill the insects.

The death of birds might pose health problems in the area. The slaughterhouse is situated on the banks of the Sutlej. The waste from the slaughterhouse flows into the river. Sources said the poison that killed the birds might have flowed into the river.

Pumps which draw water from the Sutlej for drinking water supply of the NFL colony are situated on the opposite bank of the slaughterhouse. The sources said though the pesticide might have got diluted in the river, its latent effect in the drinking water sources near the site could not be ruled out.

Moreover, the meat, that was infected and caused the death of the birds, might have found its way to the local market. If not checked in time it might cause health problems in the area.

The local council sanitary officer, Mr Gurmail Singh, under whose supervision the slaughterhouse functions when contacted declined dereliction of duty on the part of the council authorities. He declined that Baytex insecticide was used in the slaughterhouse. However, when asked about the photographs clicked by newsmen of the Baytex tins kept in the slaughterhouse, he declined any knowledge about it. He, however, said an inquiry would be held to identify persons responsible for the incident.


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