Lockdown-hit Haryana poultry farmers bury starving birds alive
Farmers say the lockdown has snapped the supply of chicken feed, and that they buried the birds so that they don’t die of starvation.
The 21-day national lockdown to control the outbreak of coronavirus disease has hit the poultry sector hard and left farm owners in Haryana’s Bhiwani, Dadri, Rohtak and Jind districts with no other option but to bury thousands of chickens alive.
Many farmers have adopted this measure due to drop in demand and lack of chicken feed.
Rajbir Singh, owner of a poultry farm in Bhiwani, said he has buried over 12,000 birds alive in last 10 days due to acute shortage of feed.
“I have suffered a loss of Rs 23 lakh in last four months. Now, experts are saying that the situation is unlikely to improve till August,” he said.
Vikas Mehla, another such farmer from Bhiwani’s Mandhan, said he buried 6,500 birds on Thursday.
“The nationwide lockdown has snapped the supply of bajra and feed. We buried them so that they do not die of starvation and further spread disease,” he added.
Subhash Deswal, a feed supplier from Jind, said chicken was being sold in the market at Rs 2 per kg against production cost of Rs 75 per kg of bird.
“Prices of chicken and eggs in the market have come down drastically owing to rumours linked to coronavirus. I suffered a loss of Rs 1.5 crore as poultry farmers are staring at huge losses with the demand nosediving,” he said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday apologised to citizens, especially the poor, for harsh decisions that have caused difficulties. In his monthly Mann ki Baat radio address, the PM explained the rationale of his decision to impose the 21-day lockdown, asked citizens to strictly abide by it, spoke about how this period can be used to enhance emotional bonds, asked for empathy and understanding for those who were infected by the virus or were in quarantine, spoke to patients and doctors to understand their experiences of the disease and acknowledged the role of those in the front-line of battling the pandemic and keeping essential services running.
He reiterated the importance of the nationwide lockdown as the only way to beat back the coronavirus disease pandemic and reached out to a wide range of individuals affected by the disease and its aftermath.