Crackdown on illegal slaughterhouses started across Jharkhand with the state government’s three-day deadline ending on Thursday. More than 300 illegal abattoirs were sealed and around 1000 notices were served on abattoir operators.
The state body of abattoir and meat shop operators have protested the government’s move saying it will make over five lakh people jobless across the state.
“A sudden government order is all set to make five lakh people, who are directly or indirectly linked to the meat business, jobless across the state. Now, where will these jobless people go? Will the state government provide them any alternative?” asked Mujib Qureshi, president of Jharkhand Pradesh Jaimtul Qureish (JPJQ), an association of slaughterhouse and meat shop operators.
Meat selling shops and abattoirs were found closed in most places of Ranchi after the district administration and civic body served separate notices on 68 illegal abattoirs and 263 meat shops on Wednesday.
A major crackdown is, however, expected only after Ram Navami, which falls on April 5.
“We have decided to request the government to make operative Kanta Toli and Doranda-based abattoirs. RMC has not been issuing contracts for the two slaughterhouses since 2005,” said Qureshi.
Jhakhand is one of the few states in the country where the Prevention of Cow Slaughter Act, 2005, is in place. The Act imposes a penalty of Rs 5,000 and imprisonment of up to five years or both for offenders. However, despite the law, cow slaughter continues unabated in the several illegal slaughter houses across many districts.
The Jharkhand government had on Monday issued an order for closure of all illegal slaughterhouses in the state by Thursday. The home department has asked all deputy commissioners, senior superintendents of police and superintendents of police to ensure closure of illegal abattoirs in their respective areas.
City SP, Ranchi, Kishor Kaushal said notice were being served and abattoirs owners asked to close them if they did not have licences for operation. “The operators are shutting down their shops. If anyone violates the order, we will ensure the law is followed,” he said.
Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC) also served notices on 263 meat shops, including 54 licensed shops. An RMC official said no licence would be issued for selling meat until government approved slaughter house is opened. He said the Kanke-based government slaughter house would be started by end of April.
The West Singhbhum district administration has sealed 65 slaughterhouses while the East Singhbhum administration has served notices on 72 abattoirs. East Singhbhum administration officials said that a certain fine would be levied on the slaughterhouse if they were found functioning. Several abattoirs were also closed in Gumla and Lohardagga.