Closure of Slaughter House For Five Months Causing Financial Hardship To Butchers, Others Connected With Livestock Trade
Syed Ali Ahmed | India Tomorrow
NEW DELHI, JULY 13–Delhi’s only slaughter house at Ghazipur has been closed for the last five months on the pretext of COVID 19 that has so far claimed 3,213 lives with total Covid 19 positive cases of 1,04,864. People involved directly and indirectly in butchering profession–butchers, goat farmers, people in handicraft industry, leather factory and thread made of animal intestine–are facing immense financial hardship and their financial condition will further worsen if the slaughter house is not opened soon.
According to Delhi Meat Merchant Association, Muslims and non-Muslims both are involved in this profession.
Animals are brought to Delhi’s livestock market from Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. In these states, goat farming is done by Hindus and Sikhs. So, major beneficiaries of the cattle trade are Hindus and Sikhs. Butchers, who are mostly Muslims, form a very small group of those involved in the profession linked with cattle rearing and trading.
Besides, Delhi is the second largest meat exporter city in India and majority of the meat exporters are non-Muslims.
Not only this, government’s coffer will also be affected if it is not opened as government charges Rs. 75 for slaughtering each animal. Work is done in three shifts in the slaughter house. Three thousand animals are slaughtered in one shift for supply of meat in the national capital including hotels and cantonment area and that is not sufficient to meet the demand. In second shift, animals are slaughtered for exporting meat. In the third shift, the slaughter house does not function because this shift is not convenient to butchers and others.
Ghazipur slaughter house is based on modern technology where slaughtering is done by machine. It was opened in October 2009 when Congress leader Sheila Dikshit was Chief Minister of Delhi.
Arshad Habibi Qureshi, president of the Delhi Meat Merchant Association, said that non-performance of slaughter house has forced many butchers to do other jobs like selling slippers and fabric items to earn their livelihood.
Closure of slaughter house has given rise to illegal slaughtering with connivance of local police and administration. Though slaughter house is closed, meat is available in Delhi. “It suggests that illegal slaughtering is going on in many areas though there is no guarantee of hygiene of such meat”, Quraishi said.
He said that the DMMA has submitted a memorandum to the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC), responsible for running the slaughter house but so far nothing has happened. As Eid-ul-Azha is approaching, the association has urged the government to open the livestock market for festival.
Other members of the DMMA – Irshad Baba Quraishi, Muhammad Yunus Quraishi and Wasim Quraishi - said that the EDMC assured them that the slaughter house would be opened within a few days. But so far it has not been opened.
They said that a private company, Allana Group, was given responsibility for operating the slaughter house. Due to some misunderstanding between the private company and the municipal corporation, the slaughter house has not opened. The DMMA has suggested the municipality to open it on temporary basis for one shift. Once both parties sort out their differences, they can open it permanently.
The government has always been ditching the butchers of Delhi since the closure of old slaughter house at Quraish Nagar in walled city in 2009 when modern slaughter house at Ghazipur was inaugurated. “The government had assured us that two more slaughter houses would be set up in Delhi. Now we have been demanding for slaughter house in North and South Delhi. We had approached the court in 2013 for our demand. Even Delhi High Court has given the order in our favour. Still the files are moving between the Union government and the state government of Delhi”, they said.
The Delhi Development Authority, a central government undertaking, says that it has given land to the Delhi State Industrial Development Corporation (DSIDC) for the purpose. But the DSIDC says the meat plant requires a plot of 15 acres and it is short of such a big plot.
DMMA members said that there around 6000 meat shops in Delhi. According to an estimate, slaughtering of 30,000 animals is required in Delhi for local consumption, hotels and in cantonment area. In the old slaughter house, 13000 animals were slaughtered in one day in 2009. The capacity of modern slaughter house is to slaughter only 3000 animals that is not sufficient to meet the daily demand. This results in illegal slaughtering.
East Delhi Mayor, Nirmal Jain said that differences with the municipal corporation and the private company has been sorted out. “The slaughter house will reopen soon”, he assured.