LUCKNOW: Over 600 meat shops are back to business without licence in Lucknow, all thanks to Ramzan. Even the administration is now going slow against them.
Authorities concerned said that the shops which have re-opened lack eligibility to apply for licence. According to the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), the licensing authority, the shops can’t apply for the papers as they don’t have a slaughterhouse in the city to show as source of the raw meat.
The shop owners are supposed to mention their source of meat as they are not allowed to slaughter animals in the shops. “As the city has no legal slaughterhouse, the shopowners don’t have any source to show and hence can’t apply for licence,” said a senior FSSAI officer. However, the chief of Bakra Murga Kalyan Vyapari Samiti, Iqbal Qureshi, said that he found the online process to apply for licenses a very complicated one.
He also alleged that FSSAI officials did not address their issues properly.
“Even after repeated visits to FSSAI office, the officials do not respond properly. Sometimes, they don’t accept applications in the absence of orders from higher ups,” Qureshi said. “This is the time to earn. We are managing the business somehow. Even authorities are not troubling us,” he added. It may be recalled that the Allahabad High Court had directed the state government to issue fresh licences and renew old ones apart from regulating the meat trade in the state by July 17. The court had also asked the state government to file a compliance report on the same date. It also observed it was the responsibility of the municipal corporation to construct a modern slaughterhouse.
However, Lucknow Municipal Corporation (LMC) is yet to move in the direction of getting a slaughterhouse constructed in accordance to NGT rules. It is not even contemplating action against meat shops for functioning without licences. As to why there was no progress in the construction of a modern slaughterhouse, acting mayor Suresh Chandra Awasthi said, “The state pollution board is yet to provide a No Objection Certificate (NOC) for the construction.”