Chandigarh: Poultry farmers in Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir are at a standoff. Jammu and Kashmir has placed an unofficial ban on chicken from Punjab fearing bird flu.
And as a retaliatory move, Punjab farmers have stopped the supply of poultry feed to Kashmiri poultry farms.
Near 20 lakh chickens in J & K have nothing to eat. Their feed comes from neighbouring Punjab, which has suspended the supply in reaction to J & K's ban.
"The J & K Chief Minister has not imposed this ban (on culled birds). Subordinates have enforced it. As the ban is not lifted, some farmers in the border area of Punjab have imposed a symbolic ban on the poultry feed to press for their demand," says Spokesman, All India Poultry Farmers Welfare Association, Rajinder Mittal.
Poultry farmers in Kashmir feel the birds from Punjab are infected and should not be allowed to enter Kashmir. They accuse Punjab's farmers of bullying.
"They shouldn't have stopped the feed. This has badly hit the Kashmiri poultry farmers. Many breeders had to close down their poultry farms. If the situation continues, the economy will come to a standstill," says President, Kashmir Poultry Farmers Union, Farooq Ahmad Khan.
A meeting between the two state Governments now seems to have resolved the issue.
Punjab's farmers have assured they will send poultry feed to J & K. But they are still angry that the ban on chicken from Punjab has not been lifted.
The bird flu scare has made poultry farmers a touchy lot. The refusal of J & K to accept culled birds has made Punjab react in stopping feed.
However, Punjabi Poultry Farmers Association says a slightest positive move by J & K will have them flooding their markets with bird feed.