All the three municipal corporations in the national capital lifted the ban on sale, storage of poultry or processed chicken meat on Thursday, within 24 hours of its imposition, after 100 samples taken from Asia's largest 'chicken mandi' in Ghazipur tested negative for bird flu.
"Samples taken from poultry markets have tested negative with respect to Bird Flu. Have directed to open the poultry market and withdraw the orders to restrict trade and import of chicken stocks," Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted.
After the samples tested negative, the three municipal corporations, which had on Wednesday banned the sale and storage of poultry or processed chicken meat by shops and restaurants and warned these establishments of strict action, including cancellation of their licence, also lifted the ban.
East Delhi Mayor Nirmal Jain said the decision to rescind the ban was taken during an online meeting, chaired by Minister of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying Giriraj Singh.
"Hope the decision to lift the ban on Ghazipur mandi will send a positive message throughout the country. I urged them to take precautions and not to panic," Singh said.
He also said,"if the Delhi government had taken the decision to ban sale of chicken at Ghazipur mandi after final reports of samples had come, it would have been better. This much panic would not have been created, if the advisory was followed. I thank the Delhi government for reconsidering the decision."
Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, two mayors and the commissioners of the three corporations were also present in the meeting.
"As the Delhi government has lifted its ban on trade and import of chicken meat and decided to open the poultry market, it was decided that all the three civic bodies will also lift the restrictions imposed on Wednesday in view on the bird flu situation here," Jain said.
A senior official of the North Delhi Municipal Corporation also confirmed that the NDMC has lifted the ban.
Samples taken from crows and ducks at parks and lakes in the national capital earlier this week tested positive for the avian influenza, prompting the Delhi government on Monday to ban the sale of processed and packaged chicken brought from outside the city.
The government also ordered the shutting down of the wholesale poultry market in east Delhi for 10 days as a precautionary measure.
Earlier in the day, the director of the Delhi government's animal husbandry unit said bird flu has not spread among chickens in the city as all the 100 samples taken from the Ghazipur poultry market have tested negative.
"Test results of 104 samples arrived on Wednesday evening. Of these, 100 samples were collected from 35 poultry birds in the Ghazipur market. All samples have tested negative for bird flu," Rakesh Singh said.
"It means there is no spread of avian influenza in poultry birds in Delhi," he said.
However, bird flu is suspected in the remaining four samples taken from Hastsal Park, Singh said, adding that these samples have been sent from a Jalandhar-based lab to Bhopal for confirmation.
The official said around 850 bird deaths have been reported from various parts of the city since January 6.
However, Rakesh Singh clarified that not all deaths can be attributed to bird flu and could be due to cold stress too.
The situation is being monitored strictly and samples are being collected regularly, he said.
The ban had come two days after Union minister Giriraj Singh said there is no need to be scared and urged people to eat poultry items after cooking them properly at a particular temperature. He had also said that eggs are safe to eat.
Meanwhile, officials at Sanjay Lake said they spotted a duck in the water on Wednesday, two days after around 400 such birds were culled and buried after samples confirmed bird flu.
"The duck must have gone astray when they were being taken to a plot for culling. We spotted it in the waters on Wednesday," R Bisnoi, an official from the Delhi Development Department said.
"The duck, however, has fallen sick. Bird flu is suspected. But we have decided not to kill it. It should be allowed to die a natural death," he said.
Bird flu outbreak has been confirmed in Delhi, Maharashtra, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Gujarat so far.
(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)