A majority of small-scale and marginal owners of meat shops are likely to down shutters permanently as they are finding it tough to comply with the guidelines of the Food Safety and Standards (Licensing and Registration of Food Business), Regulations of 2011.
The district authorities in Ghaziabad had started the process of registering meat shops under the guidelines issued by Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), but shop owners are sceptical of meeting the necessary conditions.
“It has been over a month now since I shut my shop. The entire family is tensed as there is no money flowing in. Students have to start their next academic school session but we have delayed paying their fees and purchasing books due to the fund crunch. Although we have run the shop properly for three decades and have also applied online, the new guidelines have become a barrier for restarting the business,” said Yaad Ilahi Qureshi, a meat shop owner at Raj Nagar.
“Officials say that meat shop cannot be allowed as it is located near a ‘halwai’ shop. We have operated from here for the last three decades and nobody objected to it. Still, officials say that guidelines have to be followed,” he said.
Another shop owner said that a delegation will be going to Lucknow for attending a protest proposed on Thursday.
“Many shop owners renovated their shops, put up tinted glasses, made arrangements for drainage and other facilities but the guidelines are tough to adhere to. Roadside vendors will go out of business and we are also against their operations. But what about those who have been running a shop for years?” said Chand Qureshi, a shop owner.
Under the guidelines, the shop owners cannot slaughter birds or animals on the premises and have to maintain regular hygiene, besides making arrangements for procuring meat from licensed slaughterhouses.
“My shop has been located near a masjid for the last 50 years, but the officials have denied permission, on the basis that it is near a religious place. I also obtained a letter from the Imam of the masjid, that he has no objection, but it did not make a difference. It has been nearly a month since I shut shop. We are uneducated and don’t understand the intricacies of the guidelines,” said Haji Yasin from ‘Meat Vyapar Sangh.’
Shop owners also blamed the corporation for allowing their operations without renewing their licence.
“There is no option left. Some shop owners are thinking of shutting shop permanently while some are trying to relocate their shops elsewhere. However, the major problem that we have no earning as we have stopped the sale of meat,” said Jameel Qureshi, a shop owner.
District magistrate Nidhi Kesarwani said that the “guidelines have to be followed at any cost by the shop owners and there can be no relaxation for any shop owner.”