Meat sellers hold talks with UP govt, strike to continue

Meat sellers hold talks with UP govt, strike to continue
Agitating meat sellers and exporters held talks with Uttar Pradesh health minister Siddhartha Nath Singh on the second day of their strike but no rapprochement appeared in sight. "We have noted all the issues raised by them with an open mind. The Uttar Pradesh government will not allow anything illegal to happen," Singh said after the meeting as he directed officials not act in over-zealousness or overstep their jurisdiction.

The office bearers of the associations have submitted a memorandum to the state government and now want to meet Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Aditya Nath Yogi. "We look forward to working with them within the system. If needed, we will meet again," Singh said. He said the government is acting only against illegal abattoirs.

"We are acting only against illegal abattoirs. Licenced slaughter houses are requested to stick to the norms. The licenced slaughter houses should comply with the norms mentioned in the licence and need not to fear. No orders have been issued to take any action against any shop selling chicken, fish or eggs," he said.

Singh however said that if officials were insisting on checking the licence of meat shops, there was "nothing wrong" in it. "We are acting as per the provisions of the law and not on the basis of any pre-conceived notions," he said. Meanwhile, the indefinite strike called by meatsellers and mutton shop owners entered its second day and threatened to go on for much longer.

"The strike called by mutton sellers would continue at least till the end of Navaratra (April 5). It may be extended further depending upon the outcome of talks," Mubeen Qureshi, an office bearer of Lucknow Bakra Gosht Vyapar Mandal said. The sale of fish, egg and chicken was normal in the state capital but mutton lovers continued to be disappointed. As the hindu festival of 'Navratras' has begun, the demand for non-vegetarian food is expected to relatively come down for the next few days.

Iqbal Qureshi, president of Meat-Murga Vyapaari Kalyan Samiti, UP, said the state government has started initiating action against the illegal slaughter houses, but the action has affected the shopkeepers and their livelihood. Secretary general of All India Meat and Livestock Exporters Association D B Sabharwal while expressing his concerns over the prevailing sitaution, said, "Due to the crackdown, the livelihood of many people is in jeopardy."

Lucknow Municipal Corporation Chief Veterinary Officer A K Rao said, "Within the municipal limits, there are 330 meat shops." A rough estimate suggests that there could be around 5,000 meat shops in the capital operating from shanties and huts, he said. However, there was no authentic data for the entire state.

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