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'India responsible for bird flu outbreak in Nepal'
Thursday August 22, 2013 9:42 PM, IANS

A senior leader of Nepal's CPN-UML Thursday accused India of causing the outbreak of bird flu in Nepal's capital and surrounding districts, where officials were forced to declare an emergency zone and stop to import of poultry products from the area.

Addressing a press conference here, Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist-Leninist (CPN-UML) vice chairman and former home minister Bamdev Gautam accused imported Indian chicken behind the epidemic.

"Earlier, we (Nepali side) used to impose dumping charge on Indian agro product imported to Nepal. When Baburam Bhattarai became the prime minister (August 2011-March 2013) of Nepal, he lifted ban on such imports, which made easy import of poultry products from India that caused the outbreak," said Gautam, who also leads the party's farmer front.

The outbreak, which started taking tolls on poultry farms some one month back, is considered as one the serious outbreak in the recent history, putting ban on selling poultry related products since the epidemic started reporting across Nepal's Capital Kathmandu.

Gautam also accused KFC, a multinational food chain which also imports chicken from India, of responsibility for outbreak.

"KFC imports chicken from India. When the local farmers confiscated the imported chicken from India to be used for KFC some time back, they were infected by bird flu," he further said.

"Nepal's agriculture sector has becoming moribund since Indian cheap and subsidy agro products get the market in Nepal. So I urged the governments (both India and Nepal) to revoke their decision and give a relief to small markets like Nepal."

After the outbreak affecting chicken - a considerably affordable and accessible non-vegetarian item for Nepalis, half of the hotel and restaurant business has collapsed and consumers have to turn to other options like mutton, fish while some are forced to opt for vegetarian food.

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