UP meat producers mull legal options against ban
A senior functionary of the All India Meat and Livestock Exporters Association Uttar Pradesh accounts for nearly 50 per cent of India's total meat exports.? Photograph: (Others)
As the Yogi Adityanath government goes after mechanised slaughterhouses, meat producers in Uttar Pradesh say the action conflicts with the Centre's policy of encouraging the meat industry and are considering going to court against it.
"The Centre has been encouraging the meat industry and the food processing ministry too provides aid of upto 50 per cent to support them. But the UP government has ordered a ban on all mechanised slaughterhouses," a senior functionary of the All India Meat and Livestock Exporters Association said.
"It is in contravention to the central government policy", the functionary, who wished not to be named, said.
He said that Uttar Pradesh accounts for nearly 50 per cent of India's total meat exports and such a decision would affect the livelihood 25 lakh people directly or indirectly.
The Association "supports banning illegal abattoirs" but opposes the move to shut down all the mechanised ones, he said.
If the state government brings an ordinance in this regard, the Association would approach the court, he said.
"We are keeping a close watch on the developments and will wait. An organised industry should not be dealt with in this manner," he said.
In the past three months the industry has suffered huge losses due to demonetisation and the closure of mechanised slaughter houses will add to the woes, he added.
As per estimates, the country exports meat products worth Rs 26,685 crore annually and with the closure of slaughter houses in UP it will come down to half, the association functionary lamented.
In its pre-poll manifesto, the BJP had said that if voted to power, it would shut all the illegal slaughterhouses and impose a blanket ban on mechanised abattoirs. And immediately after assuming office, Adityanath government has gone after such abattoirs with full gusto.
Teams across Uttar Pradesh are inspecting slaughterhouses and several of them have been shut down. According to reports, a slaughterhouse belonging to a relative of former BSP MP Haji Shahid Akhlaq and one belonging to another BSP leader Haji Yakub Qureshi were closed down in Meerut yesterday.
Many others too faced action across the state.
Referring to the Centre's policy of encouraging the meat industry, the functionary of the All India Meat and Livestock Exporters Association said that the Union Ministry of Food Processing Industry envisages a grant of 50 per cent of the cost of plant and machinery and technical civil work and other eligible items subject to a maximum of Rs 15 crore per abattoir in general areas.
It is 75 per cent of the cost in areas like North-eastern states, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Integrated Tribal Development notified areas of the states.
UP Chief Secretary Rahul Bhatnagar yesterday said, "The priority of the state government is to close the illegal slaughter houses in the state, and at the same time put a blanket ban on all the mechanised slaughter houses."
He had directed the officials posted in various districts to inspect the slaughter houses. PTI