Updated: March 19, 2021 10:23:02 am
Shops selling meat in areas under the jurisdiction of the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon (MCG) will remain closed on Tuesdays, with a proposal to this effect being passed by the civic body during its house meeting on Thursday. The MCG also approved proposals to double the licence fee for meat shops from Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000, and to increase the penalty for running such shops illegally to 10 times what it was earlier – from Rs 500 to Rs 5,000.
Although the matter on the agenda in the context of meat shops was only regarding an increase in licence fee and clamping down on illegal meat shops, the decision to prohibit sale of meat on Tuesdays was made after some councillors put forth suggestions to this effect citing “Hindu sentiments”. The suggestion also found the support of Mayor Madhu Azad, who said, “They are completely right, we are all agreed that meat shops remain closed on Tuesdays.”
Despite MCG Commissioner Vinay Pratap Singh pointing out that “food is an independent choice”, the proposal was passed by the House. “In my opinion, this is an individual choice. I eat, my wife doesn’t eat, it is independent. I cannot force her and she cannot force me… When we cannot decide on this at home itself, the House should think before making any decision regarding the entire city,” said Singh during the meeting.
The decision to double the licence fee for meat shops and increase penalty for illegal shops was made after a heated discussion that saw some councillors demanding that the license fee be set as high as Rs 50,000.
The MCG Commissioner suggested that while a “reasonable” increase may be made in the licence fee, instead of increasing it to an extent “that everything closes”, the fine should be increased from Rs 500 to Rs 5,000.
Speaking after the meeting, Singh said, “In the meeting, along with increasing the fees for sale of meat licence, the penalty imposed on those selling meat illegally was also increased. Along with this, shops that are penalised three times will be sealed. If the owners are found to have broken the seal, an FIR will be filed against them.”
At the meeting, Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of the MCG, Ashish Singla, stated that the civic body had started granting licences to meat shops in 2017: “In that year, we had issued 129 licences, most in commercial areas… After March 2018, we have not issued any new licences.”
Speaking to The Indian Express earlier this week, an official from the MCG had stated that the proposal to double licence fee for meat shops had been made purely to “add to the revenue” of the MCG.
Meat shops owners, meanwhile, fear the decisions will leave them in a lurch at a time when “there is not so much work to begin with”.
“Rs 10,000 is a lot, considering it has to be given annually to renew the licence. At the same time, they have also decided to further reduce our business. Members of one community may not consume meat on Tuesdays, but we still get business from other communities, it’s a big loss for us… We will have to follow the rules and manage somehow,” said Pritam Bhagat of the Jacobpura Meat Market Association.
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