2781914
Rajesh Seecharan, left, and his son Reshan count their chickens which drowned in the flood at their farm in Sukhan Trace, Barrackpore on Tuesday.

Sascha Wilson

Chicken farmers at South Oropouche Road, Barrackpore, are calling on the relevant authorities to clean the watercourses after thousands of baby chickens drowned in floods over the past few years.

The latest mass drowning occurred on Monday with the loss of more than 700 baby chicks after their pen was flooded following a heavy downpour.

Blaming a clogged drain for the floods, farmer Rajesh Seecharan called for the drain to be cleaned and for the construction of a proper box drain.

To ensure the safety of the surviving chicks, Seecharan said the poultry company he works for relocated them to another farm.

With the rainy season in full swing and the watercourses still blocked, the farmer is worried that his employer might no longer want to supply them with chicks.

“I have to attend a meeting with them (company) but I have to show that the chicks will be secure. This is the first time this happened to me,” he said.

Khaleel Dowlat, who has been rearing chickens for the past 10 years, said his problem is a blocked river.

Dowlat works for a different poultry company and his pen is located a distance away from Seecharan’s.

Dowlat said in 2017 and 2018 his two pens flooded and a total of 28,000 chicks drowned.

“It reach a point right now the company is thinking twice about the supply of birds. I suppose to get chicks yesterday but because of the condition of the river the company thinking twice to bring chicks. Anytime it have a downpour we getting flash floods,” he said.

With the help of another farmer, he said they had hired an excavator in the past to clean the river and patch the deplorable road, but their funds went low.

He explained that in 2018 a truck damaged the bridge and this is also contributing to the flooding.

He said, “The last time this river was cleaned was four years ago. If they could at least clean the river and fix the bridge. We could continue to maintain the road ourselves.”

After the last drowning, he spent $170,000 to backfill his pens.

Dowlat also complained that he does not get a water supply to his farm. “I have to transport 2000 gallons of water each day from my home to the pen. When they reach three weeks I have to transport 8,000 gallons of water per day. It is cost me $4,000 a month to transport water. And the road is in such a mess that I have to buy new water tanks every three months because they bursting when we transporting them on that bad road.”

Dowlat said they made numerous reports and complaints to the Ministry of Agriculture to no avail.