By Laxman Kafle Kathmandu, Jan.8: The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development has urged everyone to stay alert about bird flu. The ministry has urged the people, especially in the Terai region, to remain alert as bird flu has been confirmed in various parts of India. The ministry on Wednesday directed the major border checkpoints to stay on high alert. Ministry spokesperson Dr. Shree Ram Ghimire said that the quarantine offices at border have been instructed to be vigilant by stopping the import of poultry products. “Bird flu is highly likely to enter Nepal from the Himachal Pradesh of India. In view of the transition, the import of poultry products from India has been banned for some time,” he told The Rising Nepal. Bird flu has been confirmed in Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh in India Import of chickens and poultry related products from India and via India has now been restricted, he said. According to him, the ministry has asked the customs offices and the chief district officers of some districts in the Terai to be on high alert. “As the border is open, the possibility of chickens entering Nepal is high. The Chief District Officers have been requested to stay in touch using the authority of the Bird Flu Control Order,” he said. The ministry has directed concerned authorities of Kakadbhitta, Birgunj, Bhairahawa, Krishnanagar, Nepalgunj, Kailali and Gaddachauki border points to adopt high vigilance and use technical and other resources and demand additional manpower if necessary to control the entry of birds. The ministry has also urged the businessmen not to import chickens from India, he said. Ghimire said that the import of chickens has been banned for some time to prevent the spread of bird flu in Nepal as there would be no problem in supply of chickens in the country. “Nepal is self-reliant in chickens and eggs. But there will be problem in raw materials for manufacturing feeds due to the ban on the import of poultry products,” he said. He said that the government would take action against those who found importing chickens and poultry products violating the ban. He urged the farmers to contact the ministry or the nearest office immediately if a large number of chickens die or any suspicious symptoms are seen anywhere in the country. Guna Chandra Bista, president of Poultry Federation of Nepal, suggested the government to strictly stop the illegal import of chickens from India to keep Nepali poultry business safe from the bird flu. “The step taken by the government to impose a ban on the import of poultry products from India is good. But it is a must to control illegal import from India as large number of chickens are being supplied illegally from India,” he said. Bista further said that poultry sector in Nepal would bear huge losses if bird flu entered in Nepal as many farmers were displaced from this business due to the outbreak of bird flu in the past.