The food safety department has started the process of issuing of licenses as nearly 75 meat shop owners applied online for getting their licenses for operations. Nearly 500 meat shops in Ghaziabad were affected after the state government ordered a crackdown on illegal slaughterhouses across the state.
However, some of the meat shop owners continued their strike on Friday against the government’s move but said that they would like to be a part of the new process now. Some even said that the online process and guidelines were a bit hard for them to understand as they were uneducated and never got exposure to the licensing guidelines.
“We are uneducated and have been in this business for decades. Now, we will be a part of the process and rope in our educated youngsters to help us apply for licences. We hope that once the process starts, we will be able to bail ourselves out of this situation,” Abrar Ahmad, a shop owner from Raj Nagar, said.
“We will take a call on calling off our agitation and start the application process. We are apprehensive that the guidelines will be hard to comply with,” said Yaad Ilahi Qureshi from ‘Meat Vyapar Sangh.’
However, the food safety department officials said that the apprehensions of the shop owners will be removed once they start applying for licences.
“The shop owners can resume operations once they apply for licences. We have been told by senior officials to see that these small shop owners are not harassed. Initially, they may not know what guidelines they have to follow. They are free to approach us. We will send a food safety officer to help them out,” said Ajay Jaiswal, designated officer, food safety department.
“Even if the shop owners fail to meet the requirement, we will hand over a notice for improvement which help them adapt and follow procedure. Then, they will be given 15 days’ time. After 15 days, if any non-compliance takes place, they will again be cautioned before their licences are terminated,” he added.
The officials said that were even willing to give the shop owners a training session if they find it difficult to apply for licences. However, they said that no slaughtering will be permitted at shops and meat will have to be procured from licenced slaughterhouses or markets.
Applications for licence started pouring in after members of the Meat Traders’ Association met chief minister Yogi Adityanath in Lucknow on Thursday. After the meeting, the traders hinted at calling off their strike.
After the meeting, state minister Siddharth Nath Singh said the meat traders supported the chief minister and said that it was their “duty” as citizens to not allow anything illegal.
The meat shop owners went on strike against police and administration’s action which led their shops closed down. As per norms, the license holders will adhere to guidelines laid down under the Food Safety and Standards (Licensing and Registration of Food Business), Regulations of 2011.