PANAJI: Beef traders in Goa on Saturday refused to withdraw their strike and demanded the BJP-led coalition government crack down on vigilante groups who hamper bringing in beef from neighbouring states.
President of the Qureshi Meat Traders Association of Goa, Manna Bepari has said an assurance has been given by the Chief Minister's Office that the "issue would be resolved within two days".
"We will not sell beef until the government finds a solution to the problem. We went to meet the Chief Minister but he is not in Goa. His office has assured us that a meeting of all stakeholders will be called within two days and the issue will be resolved," Bepari told IANS.
"Today, we observed a complete strike and beef will not be sold in Goa until this problem involving vigilante groups and clarity on beef-import modalities are not resolved," Bepari said.
On Saturday, butcher and meat shops across the state did not sell beef, even as prices of mutton, which is sold at Rs 500 per kg, surged by Rs 30.
Beef is normally consumed in the form of stew, curries, roasts, soups and is an essential protein, and one of the cheapest meats in most Christian and Muslim homes in the state.
Minorities comprise more than 30 per cent of the state's 1.5 million population.
Cheaper than mutton, beef is also commonly consumed in the tourism-oriented coastal belt, which sees nearly six million tourists, half a million of which are foreigners.
According to official statistics from the Goa Meat Complex, the state's only abattoir facility allowed to slaughter cattle and buffaloes, the state consumes nearly 30 tonnes of fresh beef every day.
And with the Complex not functioning over the last few months, majority of the beef is brought in from Karnataka by the meat traders in Goa to meet the demand for red meat.