LUCKNOW: With meat traders up in arms against the crackdown on illegal slaughterhouses, the Yogi government on Monday toughened its stand, saying anything running illegally in the State can’t be allowed to continue.
However, a majority of meat sellers’ associations proceeded on an indefinite strike on Monday, indicating that the meat crisis would intensify in the State.
While on one the hand, most dealers and suppliers of mutton and white meat in Lucknow, Kanpur, Gorakhpur, Allahabad and other districts have been keeping their shutters down for the past three days, fish vendors are also contemplating joining the statewide agitation.
Backing the government action against unlicensed meat traders, UP health minister Siddharth Nath Singh said anything illegal had to be stopped even if it was a slaughterhouse —mechanised or manual.
Trying to clear the air, the minister reiterated the government’s stand that only unlicensed slaughterhouses and buffalo meat shops would face action. He clarified that the government did not intend to act against mutton, chicken and egg shops.
“The National Green Tribunal (NGT) had issued guidelines two years ago in this regard. Authorities concerned then did not pay any heed to the implementation of NGT rules. But we can’t let it continue like this. Ban has to be there on illegal concerns. This practice has to stop,” the minister maintained. He also expressed the government’s concern over the risk to people’s health these slaughterhouses were posing by flouting rules of cleanliness and solid waste disposal.
Singh added that the government would not touch any manual or mechanised slaughterhouse and meat shop which is legal and running after following all the norms of slaughtering.
However, he also cautioned officers concerned to respect their jurisdiction and ambit of duties while taking action. “Overzealous officers should not go overboard in excitement of performance. They need to adopt a balanced and well thought out approach,” he stated.
Over 100 unlicensed slaughterhouses of 145 running across the State have already been sealed by the authorities concerned, pushing the state into scarcity of all kinds of meat, including buffalo, mutton and chicken.
Consequently, not only retailers, but restaurants, hotels and eateries are facing a drastic fall in their business.
A lot of food joint owners say that in the given situation they may be required to get supply of meat from Delhi and other places.
“It will certainly cost us more but what is the option,” says the owner of a prominent non-vegetarian eatery. Moreover, scores of people employed in the slaughterhouses have also become jobless.