NEW DELHI: Even though not a single case of bird flu has been confirmed in Delhi, the mystery death of birds in some places has impacted the poultry business in the capital. While retail meat sellers in central Delhi and online platforms are holding the prices around Rs 200 per kg, there’s been a drop in outer Delhi areas such as Mehrauli, Dwarka and Narela, with some retailers reporting a rate of Rs 165-170kg, down from Rs 200-220.
Mohammed Nasim in southwest Delhi’s Madhu Vihar said that the chicken meat price in his area had declined to Rs180 per kg. “Every order is accompanied by queries,” Nasim said. “There are so many rumours floating in social media sites though not a single bird flu case has been confirmed in Delhi.” Sanjay Chauhan of Kaynat Halal Meat Shop near Mehrauli claimed he has had to reduce the price by Rs 30-50 to around Rs 170 per kg.
Retail prices in meat shops in central locations and urban centres are still holding, though there is a slump in demand. A-One meat shop in Dwarka reported selling chicken at the enviable rate of Rs 220 per kg. Shankla Chicken Shop in Mayapuri and Best Meat shop Janakpuri were retailing the meat at Rs 200/kg rate, again with a similar drop in demand. Meat seller Vicky Kumar pleaded to people not to fall prey to rumours and to remember that well-cooked chicken was not harmful.
Against the generally stable retail prices, Mohammed Imran, a wholesale dealer in Lajpat Nagar, claimed big falls in wholesale rates and feared a more significant effect of the bird flu fear in the coming days. “People are already apprehensive. While 10 days ago, we were selling live birds at the rate of Rs 90-110 per kg, the prices are now at around Rs 60-65 per kg,” he disclosed.
An official of the municipal corporation’s veterinary department said that people needed to be aware about bird flu without panicking. “Wellcooked chicken and eggs don’t spread bird flu,” he advised. “The internal temperature of meat should have reached higher than 73.9 degrees Celsius while cooking and eggs should not be served runny.”
Mohammed Arshad Qureshi, who heads Delhi Meat Merchant Association, said that the chicken demand has been seeing a steady drop as people began being more apprehensive about bird flu. “Even though not a single case has been confirmed, the businessmen are already facing losses,” Qureshi claimed. “The prices in wholesale markets like Ghazipur poultry market have dropped and over a longer period, the same is expected in the retail shops if this atmosphere of uncertainty prevails.”