Beef will soon be back on Mumbai menu, bringing cheer to the Christian community celebrating Easter this Sunday.
The almost month-long strike by beef traders and butchers at Deonar abattoir, who also stopped slaughtering water buffaloes, has come to an end.
The traders began the strike on March 4, two days after the bill extending the ban on slaughter of cows and sale or possession of its meat to bulls got the President Pranab Mukherjee’s nod. Since then, most beef traders kept their shutters down, which led to a shortage of meat across Mumbai, and also hiked prices of chicken and mutton.
“The strike has had little impact on the government even as it affected lakhs of people. When traders told us that it was getting impossible for them to make ends meet, we decided to end the strike. The call was taken four days ago during a meeting,” said Mohammed Qureshi, president of Mumbai Suburban Beef Dealers Association.
The move means the beef retailers will resume business from April 2, selling buffalo meat, said Qureshi.
The city Christians have applauded the news. Bandra-based musician Robert Dias said the community feared a shortage of meat on the festival day, and was happy with the end to the strike.
The move has also brought relief to several poor and middle-class people, who were bearing the brunt of rising prices of chicken and muton.
Alphi D’souza, president of Mobai Gaothan Panchayat, a group representing the East Indian community, said many families are likely to benefit. “With the price of mutton hiked from Rs400 a kg to Rs430, and chicken from Rs180 a kg to Rs210, many people were concerned,” he said.
Dr Pathan KA, deputy general manager at Deonar Abattoir, said the slaughterhouse was incurring a loss of around Rs80,000 a day owing to the strike. “Earlier, buffaloes formed only 20% of the about 450 large animals slaughtered every day. From April 1, we are expecting the number of buffaloes slaughtered to cross 200,” he said.