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Indian Chicken Back On Bhutanese Platter

Chicken from India is back in Bhutan - processed, sealed, frozen and selling real fast. //

About 3,000 kg of meat, which arrived here from Phuntsholing on the India-Bhutan border, sold out in a few hours to hotels, restaurants and home consumers, a report in the state-run daily Kuensel said.

Two months after New Delhi declared itself avian flu-free, Bhutan on Oct 11 lifted an eight-month ban on the import of poultry, eggs and related products from India.

Bhutan had imposed an indefinite ban on the import of poultry and related products in February following the outbreak of the H5N1 virus in poultry in India's Maharashtra state.

On Aug 12, India declared itself free of the avian virus, which had led to the culling of millions of infected poultry across the world and the deaths of around 135 people.

The main concern among consumers here is price regulation.

Already, local meat vendors were selling chicken meat at Nu.100, Nu.5 more than the wholesale price. But, according to the condition set by the livestock department, prices had to be comparable with that of the pre-ban period.

'I think it is a better bargain because earlier the consumers were paying similarly but losing about 250 grams in the form of the unwanted head, legs and innards,' said a customer.

'It is also much cleaner.' The meat was supplied by Arambagh Hatchers in Illambazar, West Bengal, who transported it till Phuentsholing in refrigerated trucks from where local dealers brought it up in puff-boxes.

Tashi Samdup of the livestock department said the boxes maintained the required temperature up to 36 hours.

Apart from Arambagh, firms based in Delhi and West Bengal, had shown interest in exporting their product, he said.

A refrigerated canter would also be stationed in Phuentsholing to enhance regular supply.

Bhutan's major poultry imports come from West Bengal. R ecords show that Phuentsholing alone registered imports of 168,738 kg of chicken and about 2,240 cardboard boxes of eggs in the past year.


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