More Regulation Ahead for Industry in Maharashtra

INDIA - The Maharashtra State government has announced its plan to draft legislation to regulate the state's poultry industry.
calendar icon 20 May 2009
clock icon 3 minute read

Shaken by the swine flu pandemic, the Maharashtra government has decided to revisit an unfinished task. The government will soon set up a committee to draft legislation to regulate the state’s poultry industry which has been badly hit since the outbreak of bird flu in 2006, according to Economic Times.

Maharashtra's 450 million rupee (INR) poultry industry, is growing at the rate of 15 per cent annually. It employs about 21,000 farmers with flocks of more than 50 to 100 birds who rely on poultry as their primary income, according to Anuradha Desai, chairperson of a leading integrated poultry major, Venkateshwara Hatcheries Group.

The government has yet to make up its mind over formulating a separate Act to regulate the piggeries. Organised piggeries are estimated to be less than five per cent of the total pig population in the state.

"A technical committee will soon be set up to draft the Maharashtra Poultry Development and Regulation Act," said the state's animal husbandry commissioner, D.S. Zagade, who will chair the committee.

The proposed Act is expected to provide for registration of the poultry units and their breeding farms. It may also give search and visit rights to the government officials.

"This was a major hurdle faced by us while tackling the bird flu outbreak in the state a few years ago. In the absence of a legal right to check the birds, some companies denied us entry in their units," commented an official of the state animal husbandry department.

However, Ms Desai said routine and regular visits by government officials to organised sector units has never been a problem.

"If they want samples, they can and do come and take them. For instance, in the case of salmonella testing, they come and regularly take samples. Moreover, if they suspect disease, no one can stop them," she said.

"The proposed Act will focus on surveillance and monitoring for disease control and prevention," Mr Zagade told Economic Times. Some tests could also be made mandatory.

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