Nepal suspends 6 officials for KFC chicken import from India

Nepal has suspended six quarantine officials, including two under-secretaries, on the charge of allowing a promoter of KFC here for illegally importing chicken from India despite restrictions.

The Ministry of Agriculture Development has taken action against staffers working in the Birgunj quarantine post for their negligence in allowing Devyani International Nepal, a promoter of Kentucky Fried Chicken to import chicken from India as it is banned under the bird flu surveillance list of World Organisation for Animal Health.

Nepal government has banned import of chicken from India some six years ago after the outbreak of bird flu in the neighbouring country.

The suspended officials have been charged with permitting the import of 11 tonnes of frozen chicken from India despite the government's restriction on imports of birds from a bird flu affected country.

The suspended officials include under-secretary Munni Lal Chaudhary, chief of the Birgunj Quarantine Office, under-secretary at Central Quarantine Office Mohan Dev Lekhak and four technicians.

The ministry also questioned the suspended officials yesterday, according to sources at the Ministry of Agriculture Development.

According to Nara Bahadur Rajwal, director general of the Livestock Service Department, the ministry has formed a three-member committee headed by Joint secretary Uttam Kumar Bhattarai to carry out thorough investigation into the matter.

Meanwhile, the ministry asked the Department of Commerce, the Armed Police Force that guards the border and the Nepal Police to stop the import of poultry products from countries named by the World Health Organisation as having bird flu.

Two containers of frozen chicken imported for the outlets of the international fast food chain KFC were dumped in Dhading on Saturday with the help of local farmers.

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