LUCKNOW: The frozen meat industry of UP seems to be in the throes of distress following the clampdown on illegal slaughterhouses across the state by the BJP government installed just three days ago.
Though so far the state government has issued orders only to put a leash on cow smuggling and closure of ‘illegal’ slaughterhouses, which have been running unrestrained and unchecked for years right under the nose of authorities concerned, the panic and confusion is seeping down the section engaged in the business with each passing day.
In fact, UP is not only the largest producer of meat in the world, but also contributes believably over 60 per cent to India’s share in global production. During the last two months of poll campaign wherein BJP had been following its vociferous rhetoric against illegal slaughterhouses and mechanised abattoirs, the meat exporters, who cater to over 50 nations, have suffered losses to the tune of Rs 4000 crore owing to cancellation of export consignments orders sending jitters down the line.
The nervousness and uncertainty is gaining ground so much so that the meat producers are contemplating to move base to other states - down south or for that matter Punjab.
The BJP, which has arrived in UP with huge mandate, is working on the lines of its election manifesto delivering the promise of putting a leash on illegal slaughterhouses along mechanised abattoirs.
However, meat producers community feels harassed at the hands of authorities. Lamenting over the ongoing situation in the state, a senior office bearer of Mumbai based All India Meat & Live Exporters Association (AIMLEA), an umbrella body of registered meat exporters, explains that a productive animal is never slaughtered at legal and mechanised abattoirs. Only unproductive buffalos are slaughtered which has been a legal practice for over 40 years.
As per the figures of AIMLEA, the UP crackdown will impact a workforce of over five lakh engaged in the industry directly or indirectly. Opposing the practice of cow slaughter, the AIMLEA office bearer says that anyone who indulges in such a practice should be hanged but what is going on in UP seems to be nothing else but a witch hunt.
With threat of closure looming large over the industry in the state, a high-level delegation of AIMLEA rushed down to Lucknow to submit a memorandum to the state government over the issue.
While the AIMLEA office bearers are trying to meet the CM for the last three days to put forth their case but have yet to get a hearing, a senior government official accepts having received a memorandum from them saying that there is no immediate threat to the legal abattoirs.