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Mamata expresses concern over UP crackdown, Bengal beef dealers claim they are worst hit now

The Bengal beef industry employs a few lakh people almost all of whom have no other skill, claim industry representatives.

kolkata Updated: Mar 28, 2017 18:52 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Uttar Pradesh,West Bengal,Mamata Banerjee
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee expressed concern over the situation in Uttar Pradesh after the crackdown on illegal abattoirs.(Subhankar Chakraborty)

The beef crackdown in Uttar Pradesh has sent shivers in Bengal, one of the two states where cow slaughter and sale/consumption of beef are legal. Beef dealers of Bengal claimed that they are badly hit with the supply of cattle drying up from UP and other north Indian states, and said that they are planning to approach chief minister Mamata Banerjee over the issue.

On Tuesday, the chief minister also expressed her concern over the situation in Uttar Pradesh.

Read: No beef ban if we come to power in poll-bound northeast states: BJP

“We are concerned about recent happenings in UP. People are afraid & many are scared about differences over caste, creed & religion.We are all one. ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’ sirf bolna nahi hain, karna hain. We have to do it, to make it meaningful. A govt has to be for all. We need to safeguard our Constitution and allow it to guide,” Mamata Banerjee twitted.

More than five lakh people are directly and indirectly involved with the beef industry in Bengal, claimed dealers. (HT Photo)

According to beef industry representatives, every stage of the beef industry, from loading and unloading of cattle in vehicles/rail bogies to the slaughterhouse, shops selling beef to those transporting the meat and hide, is labour intensive and employs more than five lakh people in Bengal.

Beef dealers were extremely worried over the fact that cattle supply was never hit so badly in the past. The export of beef from the state was also affected.

Read: Illegal slaughterhouse crackdown: UP strike hits Delhi hard, meat supply down

Mohammed Ali, President of Calcutta Beef Dealers’ Association said, “Since March 24, not a single buffalo has been slaughtered at the Tangra slaughterhouse, one of the biggest in the state. In normal circumstances, around 150 buffaloes are slaughtered here everyday. The supply of cattle from UP has stopped and cattle-carrying vehicles that pass through UP are also being attacked by vigilante groups.”

Leaders of Jamiat-ul-Quraish, an organisation of beef dealers in the state said that supply of cows and buffaloes from Uttar Pradesh has also stopped. They claimed that the situation was deteriorating over the past few years, but now they are worst hit.

Bengal beef dealers said that the supply of cattle from Uttar Pradesh, one of the main sourcing points, has almost stopped. Vigilante groups are also intercepting vehicles carrying cattle passing through the state. (HT Photo)

“Cow slaughter is allowed in Bengal and Kerala, so we procure cows from other states. That, too, has almost stopped,” said Md Jehangir Quraishi, general secretary of the Jamiat.

Jamiat members stated that goods trains comprising 72 bogies would carry cows from UP to Bengal with eight to 10 cows in each of the compartments five years back. Earlier 20 trucks per week carrying the animals used to come to Kolkata (each having 14 to 15 animals). “But now only handful of trucks come from Bihar and that is all,” said Jehangir.

Read: Azam Khan demands nationwide ban on animal slaughter, asks Muslims to stop eating meat

“You can easily understand the impact. This is in addition to the trouble which we are facing with on-road transportation,” Ali said.

He also said that a representative team of the association would seek appointment with chief minister Mamata Banerjee and apprise her of the plight of beef dealers.

They said that the ripple effects will soon hit the tannery and leather industry.

First Published: Mar 28, 2017 18:52 IST