It is nearly a month since the Uttar Pradesh government chief minister Yogi Adityanath rolled out an order to shut illegal slaughterhouses. Meat shops that were running without necessary registrations were closed.
In Ghaziabad, the district officials have so far been able to issue a licence to only three meat shops, which comply with the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) guidelines.
As per an official estimate, there were nearly 500 meat shops that were operating without renewing the licence, under the five municipal zones of the city. Shop owners were asked to comply with the guidelines of the Food Safety and Standards (Licensing and Registration of Food Business), Regulations of 2011.
“Apart from the three meat shops, we received NOCs for 16 shops from the corporation but these have been held up due to objections. These objections included proximity to religious places and vegetable markets, lack of proper drainage and waste disposal system,” Ajay Jaiswal, designated officer, food safety department, said.
Shop owners such as Haji Yasin are still trying every trick in the book and also approaching religious leaders for reopening their shops.
“The shutters of my shop have been down since Day one (of the crackdown). My shop has been located close to a masjid near Chopla market in the old city for nearly 50 years now. In all, there are five shops in the vicinity and I have no alternate place for conducting business, which has completely stopped now. I also got a letter issued by the Imam of the masjid, who wrote that there is no objection if the shop is opened but the officials denied permission, stating non-compliance of guidelines,” he said.
As per the process laid down by district authorities, the shop owners, most of whom are not well educated, are required to apply and submit fees online.
The documents are deposited with the food safety department, which processes and forwards the applications to Ghaziabad municipal corporation. “We have processed each registration within a maximum period of two days. But the corporation takes nearly a week or ten days to process applications further and send it back to us. To speed up registrations, we plan to hold camps for shop owners,” Jaiswal said.