Meat sellers in Ghaziabad have shut shop to express solidarity with meat sellers who are striking against the recent clampdown on illegal slaughterhouses and meat shops in the state. Officials said that more than 152 meat shops in Ghaziabad have been shut so far.
The shop owners questioned why they have been asked to shut shop suddenly when the corporation was allowing them to operate without a licence renewal for the last two years.
Haji Yasin Qureshi, president of ‘Meat Vyapar Sangh’ in Ghaziabad, said, “Nearly 70 meat shops, including 45 that sell goat meat, have either been sealed or owners have shut shop of their own volition. We fully support meat shop owners in the state and demand immediate provision of licences from the corporation. Most of our chicken and goat meat is supplied from the Ghazipur market in Delhi but procurement has been suspended due to the current situation.”
Some meat sellers said that the illegal shops must be closed to ensure good quality of meat and hygienic conditions. “Illegal shops operating on roadsides must be shut. We would also like to know why we were allowed to operate till now, despite the regulations and court order not allowing operations,” Yaad Elahi Qureshi, a shop owner in Raj Nagar, said.
According to corporation officials, Mohan Nagar, Vasundhara and the city zone have 218 shops, of which the majority have suspended operations. The number of shops in Kavi Nagar and Vijay Nagar zones is yet to be estimated.
A goat slaughterhouse was earlier operational in Islam Nagar but the facility was shut down around four years ago as new colonies sprouted around it. “There was a proposal to shift the facility elsewhere but the land could not be procured. The shops which slaughter chicken and goat in the open have been shut and not allowed to operate till they follow guidelines and procure renewed licences,” Dr RK Yadav, city health officer from Ghaziabad municipal corporation, said.
According to official estimates, the city has a requirement of nearly 1.5 lakh chicken per day. The district veterinary department officials estimate a requirement of nearly 200 goats on a daily basis for consumption.
Vendors in Noida had mixed reactions to the ban.
A section of the vendors decided to shut their shops in solidarity with the statewide protest. “We deal only in chicken and raw mutton. Still, our business has taken a hit as the new government has created a sense of fear among the vendors. We buy our meat from Ghazipur market but at times, we also prefer meat delivery from Greater Noida slaughterhouses. Now, the delivery has completely stopped,” Imran, owner of Chand Halal meat shop in Sector 107, said.
“We have decided to shut shop in support of the strike. The fear is vehement after the recent crackdown by the police. Why are we being targeted when we are dealing only with chicken? We have been doing business quietly and suddenly it is being claimed that our licence has expired,” Yusuf Qureshi, owner, Qureshi meat shop in Sector 48, said.
The police crackdown on meat shops in Harola market of Sector 4, a major hub, has forced vendors to close shop for the third consecutive day. “We earn our daily bread by selling meat and the recent crackdown has ensured that our business is zero. We are a part of the strike with or without our consent,” Sarfaraz, a meat shop owner in Harola market, said.
“We sell meat at Rs160 per kilo which is Rs 40 less than what other shops charge. My customers are usually people who prefer chicken and mutton at cheaper rates. After the crackdown, they are forced to skip meat,” said Nadeem, a roadside meat vendor in Harola.
However, a few owners have decided to function normally despite the ban. “We have never faced a problem from the police. We have decided to open our shop and function as usual,” Rahul, manager of Punjab meat shop in Jaipuria market, said.
Noida residents believe that the recent crackdown on meat shops might not affect their diet now but is a dangerous trend in the long run.
“I usually buy meat from shops that sell refrigerated, packed meat. I also order online, therefore, the crackdown has not yet affected me. But eventually, this is going to lead to an inflation in the price of meat,” Shwet Kumar of Sector 37 said.