Ensure cheap, enough beef for Easter, Goa Catholics urge PM

Ensure cheap, enough beef for Easter, Goa Catholics urge PM

Troubled by the doubling of beef prices in the state, due to a prolonged shortage of the red meat here, an association of Catholics in Goa has implored Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar to ensure cheap and sufficient beef for the Easter.

"Christians will be celebrating the feast of Easter and sufficient supply of beef and other meats will bring joy to their dining tables," Catholic Association of Goa (CAG) president Edwin Fonseca said in a statement issued here on Monday.

On Easter (April 5), Catholics break their Lenten fast, a holy period when Christians tend to avoid red meat. Christians account for 26 percent of Goa's population.

Supply of fresh beef in Goa has been erratic ever since the Akhil Vishwa Jai Shrirama Gosanvardhan Kendra, an NGO, in 2013 petitioned the Bombay High Court bench in Panaji for a ban on cattle slaughter It cited cruelty to cattle being brought to the Goa Meat Complex, the state's only abattoir operated by a government corporation, to press for ban.

The high court in its subsequent order said that the slaughter would be overseen in the future by officials and a representative of the NGO at the abattoir.

Beef traders in Goa now claim that the representatives of the Kendra had been harassing them and refusing to allow slaughter of any cattle at the abattoir. As a result, they have refused to sell beef for nearly two weeks in March.

Under pressure from the opposition and minority community associations like the CAG, the Goa government arranged for sale of beef through private cold storage chains, bypassing the beef traders.

But the prices of beef, according to Fonseca, have still not stabilised.
"While Parsekar recently ensured supply of 10 tonnes of beef in the state, this was insufficient, as Goa needs around 40 tonnes of beef every day," Fonseca said, adding that beef, which was priced around Rs.100 per kg a few months ago is now selling at Rs.200 a kg.

"The present beef shortage has led to the prices of chicken, pork, mutton and fish to skyrocket," Fonseca added.

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