Gurugram meat shops ordered to stay shut on Tuesdays
Meat shops in the city will remain closed on Tuesdays, the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram decided in its House meeting on Thursday. A few councillors raised the issue during the meeting citing religious sentiments and after long deliberation, the proposal was approved.
There are 129 licensed meat shops in the city, with as many as 150 more operating illegally, according to MCG officials. They said that as per the provisions of the Haryana Municipal Corporation bylaws, 2008, any municipal corporation across the state has the power to close meat shops on a single day of a week, with immediate effect.
The MCG had put forth an agenda before the House on restarting the issuance of licences to meat shop owners and doubling the license fee from ₹5,000 to ₹10,000. Soon after the agenda was tabled, MCG councillors Ashwani Sharma and Dharambir Singh, of wards 23 and 21, respectively, said that the civic body should raise the licensing fee to ₹50,000 and requested the closure on Tuesdays, citing religious sentiments.
MCG commissioner Vinay Pratap Singh, however, said that food was a personal choice. “One shouldn’t raise such issues, you may believe in closing meat shops on Tuesday. In my opinion, this is an individual choice. I eat meat but my wife doesn’t. I do not force her, and she does not force me. It is completely a personal choice. When households have differences on this issue, the House should give this a serious thought before making any decision regarding the entire city. Food is an independent choice,” said Singh.
The MCG commissioner then left the decision on this matter to the House as councillors emphasised that bye-laws allow for the same. Mayor Madhu Azad also lent her support to the motion and subsequently, the resolution on closing meat shops falling within the MCG area on Tuesdays was approved.
“As per the provisions of the Haryana Municipal Corporation Byelaws, 2008, any municipal corporation can close meat shops on a single day during the week. Hence, such a decision can be implemented with immediate effect,” said Ashish Singla, MCG’s chief medical officer, who oversees the issuance of licences, fines and closure orders for meat shops in the city.
Pritam Singh, the president of Jacobpura meat shops association, said the move would cause revenue loss. “If the MCG has passed this resolution, there is little else the association or the shopkeepers can do. The MCG should have taken into account that even if a few members of one community do not consume meat on Tuesday, other communities consume it. We were open seven days a week but now, will be forced to close on Tuesdays and lose revenue,” said Singh.
The MCG’s original agenda of increasing the licensing fee from ₹5,000 to ₹10,000 was approved after an extensive discussion, after officials decided that ₹50,000 was not feasible.
The MCG started issuing licences to meat shops in 2017. Singla informed the House that 129 meat shops were registered under this policy till March 2018, after which no new licences were issued.
During the meeting, Vinay Pratap Singh also said that the MCG should increase the penalty imposed on illegal meat shops from ₹500 to ₹5,000 and the same was unanimously approved. He also said that if a shop is fined three times for illegally running operations, then the MCG should permanently seal the same.
“With the MCG’s jurisdiction increasing recently and the demand for meat and opening of meat shops increasing, and the decision to reopen licensing was taken to increase the civic body’s revenue. Since 2018, we were only renewing the annual licences of 129 shop registered with us,” said Singla.
Councillor Dharambir Singh declined to comment.