UP Meat sellers may call off strike

Uttar Pradesh’s lip-smacking non-vegetarian delicacies — from Lucknow’s kebabs to Moradabadi biryani – are set to be back on your platter as the ongoing strike by meat sellers and prominent eateries is likely to be called off soon.

The hope was raised following chief minister Yogi Adityanath’s assurance to meat sellers and exporters that his government will protect interests of all genuine operators.

The CM, who is on a nine-day fast due to Navratra, also said that officers who had gone overboard, after his government ordered a clampdown on illegal slaughterhouses, would be asked to act ‘responsibly’.

Closure of all mechanised and illegal slaughterhouses was one of the BJP’s election promises in the state.

Sirajuddin Qureshi the president of the All India Jamiatul Quresh – an association of the state’s abattoirs and meat sellers– told HT that it has appealed to it members to consider withdrawing the strike.

“I guess things would start normalising within a couple of days,” he said.

“Though there won’t be any let off in the clampdown on illegal slaughterhouses, the CM said officers would be asked to act responsibly. This government won’t act against people on the basis of religion, caste or colour,” UP minister Siddharth Nath Singh said after the meeting.

Interestingly, while the icoinic Tundey Kebabi shop in the old city remained closed, its Nazirabad outlet, managed by the grandson of the original owner of the eatery, remained open, though instead of its popular buffalo meat kebabs it was selling chicken kebabs.

Expressing solidarity with slaughterhouse owners, many of whom claimed they were forced to shut down due to technicalities, the prominent non-vegetarian eateries and meat sellers went on strike, bringing the ₹15000 crore slaughterhouse-industry in UP that employs 25 lakh people to a grinding halt.

Few meat sellers told HT that they were in favor of re-opening only after government renewed licenses and granted approvals that had been pending for months.

However, majority of the meat sellers described their meeting with the CM as “positive,” renewing possibility of meat shops becoming fully functional after Navratra – the nine day period considered auspicious by Hindus.

Before the CM arrived for talks at his 5 KD residence, Singh had held preliminary round of talks with the meat sellers.

The CM later summoned all his cabinet ministers, including the two deputy chief ministers ostensibly to discuss the issue.

The UP government could come out with a fresh policy to regulate the multi-crore industry.

“We too are against illegal slaughterhouses. The problem is that some were shut down merely because they were awaiting cleranaces from the government departments. Anyone who enters the meat processing/marketing trade has to get multiple clearances and the CM assured us that he would look into the issue,” Yusuf Qureshi, the state president of the All India Jamiatul Quresh said.

Of the 72 government-approved abattoirs across the country, 38 are in the state. They are given NoCs by the UP Pollution Control Board.

“There are about 300 to 400 other small or medium slaughterhouses that come under municipal authorities and it’s here that we often face problems,” Qureshi said.


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