In the heart of India's Chota Nagpur region, where the Subarnarekha river weaves its way through tribal landscapes, a tale of environmental degradation unfolds, spelling doom for both humans and the delicate ecosystems that rely on this lifeline.
Distressed poultry traders are gifting chickens to local villagers as the prevailing Corona panic has hit their business hard especially in the past one fortnight. The poultry sale has touched its lowest level following rumours in the social media that consumption of eggs and chicken meat may spread Coronavirus infection to human beings. The situation is so critical that people have simply refused to listen to the advice coming from the health experts and the researchers.
Apparently irked at severe drop in chicken sale, a poultry trader from central Bihar’s Arwal district gave away all his chickens among the local villagers free of cost. There was a mad scramble among the local villagers when trader Jitendra Singh went on throwing his some 5,000 chickens from his poultry farm one by one from the roof of his building on the weekend.
Singh, who runs his poultry farm at Kokhdi village under Sadar Block, was extremely annoyed over increasing business loss with each passing day. While no or few buyers rushed to his poultry farm to buy meat, he had to arrange for a huge quantity of chicken feed to keep them alive, causing further loss. Eventually, he decided to gift all the chickens to local villagers and shut down the shop forever. TV footage showed the man standing on the roof of his house and throwing his chicken down one by one as eager villagers scrambled to loot the falling chicken flapping their wings on them.
“I am feeling relaxed now. The growing chickens had caused a big hole in my pocket while the meat lovers nearly stopped visiting my shop. I had no option other than gifting them to local villagers,” Singh said.
Even more shocking story was reported from Garhawa district of neighbouring Jharkhand state where thousands of chickens were found dumped on the dry Koel river bed. The local villagers visiting the river areas were hugely surprised when they saw a large number of white-coloured farm chickens lying lifeless on the river bed. As per the reports, the chickens were dumped by local poultry trader Krishna Mehta who runs his poultry farm at Majhiaon Nagar. “I was running in huge loss and hence decided to dump all chickens,” Mehta told the local media. Luckily, it rained heavily later and all the chickens were flown away by the river.
As such, most of the chicken shops are said to be running in huge loss as there are few takers for chickens as a result of Corona panic. “We used to sell more than a quintal of chickens per day but these days we are finding it very hard even for ‘bohani”, said Munna Khan, a chicken shop owner. Another owner Laddu Ansari said customers are showing no interest even though they slashed the price by more than a half. As per a report, there are some 60,000 farmers linked to poultry business in Bihar. Of them, some 3,000 have their poultry farms in Patna district alone.
The seriousness of the situation is underlined from the fact that the panicky residents have refused to take any note of advice coming from Giriraj Singh, Union Minister for Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries, Dr OP Chaudhary, Joint Secretary, Union Ministry of Animal Husbandry and Dr Pankaj Kumar, assistant professor at Department of Veterinary Microbiology, Bihar Animal Sciences University.