Muslims in Old Bhopal have opposed plans to shut down the city’s only slaughterhouse on Maida Mill Road, in adherence to a National Green Tribunal (NGT) directive, before setting up an alternative unit.
The case will come up for hearing at the NGT on Tuesday. Meat sellers have decided to launch an agitation along with members of the Muslim community, if the issue – which has been hanging fire for months – is not resolved soon.
Shariq Ahmed, district president of the All-India Jamiat-ul-Quresh, said they have launched a signature campaign to protest the premature closure of the slaughterhouse. Such an action will affect the livelihood of over 300 meat sellers (and their dependants) and the dietary needs of many city residents, he added. “We started our signature campaign from Char Basti on Sunday. Till now, over 5,000 people have signed it. When the case comes for hearing, we will take out a rally from Islampura to the NGT premises,” Ahmed said.
The slaughterhouse was initially closed on the NGT’s direction on June 30, but an outcry by local Muslims in the run-up to Eid prompted the Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC) to seek continuation of operations at the unit till July 31. The NGT allowed the move.
The state government had earlier sent a proposal for setting up a 2.9-hectare slaughterhouse at Mughaliya Kot village in Bhopal district to the urban development department. However, as the proposed area didn’t fall in the city planning zone, the matter was handed over to the revenue department. When this was brought up in the NGT hearing on August 1, the slaughterhouse was allowed to continue operations till August 10.
In the hearing, the tribunal was informed that the matter had been referred by the district collector to the revenue commissioner – who was taking several problems facing the relocation, including opposition from an MLA, into consideration. A decision on further postponement of the slaughterhouse’s closure will be taken on August 30, it said.
The NGT’s direction for the closure of the Maida Mill Road slaughterhouse was passed in September 2015, after a petitioner stated that it was releasing a large quantity of untreated solid and liquid effluents into a nearby nallah. The pollution control board also said the BMC-run unit was functioning without its consent.
The NGT set June 30 as the deadline for shifting the slaughterhouse to an alternative site.