A delegation of meat sellers and butchers from Uttar Pradesh met state Health Minister Sidharth Nath Singh on Tuesday and submitted a memorandum, a week after the administration initiated crackdown on slaughterhouses operating without licence and failing to fulfill requisite norms. The decision has resulted in closure of many meat shops across the state. “We informed the minister about hardships we are facing. Thousands of people have become jobless. Many poor people are struggling for food,” Umar Chaudhary, general secretary of All-India Jamiatul Quresh (AIMQ), said. “We asked him to ensure that the civic bodies start renewing licences that have expired and urged him to identify places where animals can be slaughtered until modern slaughterhouses are developed.”
Calling the government’s action against illegal slaughterhouses “arbitrary”, meat sellers and butchers across the went on an indefinite strike over the weekend. Closure of mechanised and illegal slaughterhouses was one of the promises in the BJP manifesto for the Assembly polls. AIMQ president Sirajuddin Qureshi led the delegation for the meeting, which comes a day after the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court asked the state government to submit details of directions and orders issued for the drive against slaughterhouses and meat shops. “The minister said he will discuss our issues with officers and get back in two or three days. We will continue with our strike until a permanent solution is found,” said Shahabuddin Quraishi, general secretary of Lucknow-based Quraish Welfare Foundation.
Iqbal Qureshi, president of Meat-Murga Vyapari Kalyan Samiti, an association of chicken sellers who have also gone on strike against the crackdown, said they are ready to comply with the orders of the state government, the court and the National Green Tribunal. “But the government should have given us notice for some time before initiating the closure,” he said. “If we were not able to comply, then the authorities could have closed our establishments.” Qureshi said the local authorities are building new colonies but are not allocating any space for slaughterhouses or meat shops. “This is why most sellers set up kiosks on the roadside,” he said. During the BSP government, six pieces of land were identified in Lucknow to be developed into slaughterhouses, but the proposal was rejected by the municipal corporation. The civic body said there are already enough slaughterhouses and meat markets.”
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