Ever since Yogi Adityanath took the oath of office as UP CM, a massive drive has been launched across the state against illegal slaughter houses. Dozens of such houses have been closed and raids are being conducted almost every day.
This has generated a sense of fear among those employed at the abattoirs and given rise to apprehensions of dearth of meat in restaurants and in zoos.
The Yogi government has attached much priority to abattoirs and specific instructions have been passed to government officials to seal illegal ones. Action has been taken on unlicensed slaughter of big animals as well.
While orders have been issued to close 140 illegal slaughter houses, the fate of the 45 licensed ones also hangs in the balance. The BJP during its campaign had made cattle smuggling an emotive poll issue, with party president Amit Shah recalling in rallies how such smuggling was rampant in parts of UP. He had gone to the extent of saying that even automated slaughter houses will be closed as soon as the BJP government comes to power.
The state government however appears to have taken a U-turn on that. There are no guidelines by the present government on shutting mechanised slaughter houses having licences.
When the question was put to deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya, he said all illegal ones will be closed but "we are looking into the aspect of the licensed ones". Apparently, the state government does not have any specific law that can be a deterrent to illegal slaughter. Illegal units can be closed but what about isolated instances of slaughter?
The state is already reeling under shortage of meat, because of which Lucknow's legendary Tunday Kababi shut one of its outlets. The pinch would soon be felt in zoos as meat is fast becoming scarce. On the one hand, the administration is making a crackdown on illegal units and on the other it appears that self-styled vigilante groups have got into the act of burning meat shops. Such incidents have been reported from Hathras in UP.
The situation is ambiguous. The government is in a fix. There can't be a blanket ban on all slaughter houses. While Yogi Adityanath has spelt clearly that cow slaughter will not be tolerated, the same does not apply for buffalo or goat.
|The crackdown may lead to a loss of over Rs 11,000 crore annually to the state and generate huge unemployment. Photo: PTI|
The brief to officials lacking clarity has generated a complex situation where fear of raids and closure of units has become rampant. The same may lead to a loss of over Rs 11,000 crore annually to the state and generate huge unemployment.
The BJP goverment in UP needs clarity on the matter. It sure can't expect the non-vegetarians to abstain from relishing meat products and switch to vegetarianism. Presently, just 45 abattoirs in the state are licensed to operate and if the government decides to scale down their production as well, the state will have no choice but to seek alternatives. The government while emphatically ensuring ban on cow slaughter should be more considerate about legal slaughter of other animals.
Any attempt to change food habits of the vast population hooked on to non-veg may not augur well for the party, which seems to be basking in the glory of an unprecedented election mandate, which also entrusts huge responsibility to the government.