In Lucknow, 70 per cent of the meat shops were closed, sending customers back empty-handed, hotels and restaurants owners said. Lucknow zoo was also hit by the act as the meat given for consumption to big cats and others have turned short and now alternative eatables are being provided to them. The roadside non-vegetarian shops were the worst hit and several people employed there were jobless. Meanwhile, a government official here today has admitted that around 90 per cent of meat retail shops in the state have been operating without licence for over several years.
According to a report of Lucknow Municipal Corporation(LMC), in 2014-15, it closed the three slaughter houses in Lucknow which supplied meat to these shops. The LMC had then promised to provide an alternate mechanism of supply for smooth functioning of the shops but it was never fulfilled. Besides, during the past two years, the LMC also stopped issuing/renewing licences.
The butchers' association claims their legitimate business was turned illegal overnight and the orders to close all shops without licenses would hit the livelihood of over lakhs people associated with the trade in the state. Mr Shahabuddin Qureshi, general secretary of the butcher's association, said here today, "We have made several attempts to get the licence. We have made numerous written complaints and met higher officials many times but that hasn't yielded anything.
We have also approached the court but nothing came of that either. As a result, all the butchers of the area, most of who have been in this business for over a century, are now running their shops without license and are being called illegal." "We are planning to meet the deputy CM to find a solution. At least we should get licenses. After all, it's not our fault that there is no authorised slaughterhouse in the city," Mr Qureshi added.
LMC officials, on the other hand, claimed 300 licences had been issued to meat shops. Though half of them had been cancelled and not renewed because they were adjacent to religious spots and educational institutions. "How can we issue licences to sell a certain kind of meat when there is no legal place to slaughter the animal. Once mechanised slaughterhouses are built, their licenses will also be renewed," said A K Rao, the veterinary officer of LMC. (UNI)