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 meat sellers 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 (5 April). It may be extended further depending upon the outcome of talks," Mubeen Qureshi, an office bearer of Lucknow Bakra Gosht Vyapar Mandal said.
Beef industry badly hit in Bengal
Ripple effects of the crackdown on illegal abattoirs in Uttar Pradesh are being felt in West Bengal as the beef dealers here are complaining of a decline in business and exports.
The supply of meat, mostly buffalo meat, from Uttar Pradesh has come down to a great extent and as a result, the thriving beef-packaging industry here has been affected, Mohammed Ali, president of Calcutta Beef Dealers’ Association, told PTI.
Ali also apprehended lay-offs in the near future as several people had become jobless in the last few days due to the dearth in supply of raw materials.
"Our dealers in Uttar Pradesh are unable to send buffaloes in trucks or trains as strict checking is going on, resulting in many small meat processing units in the state downing shutters. If this goes on for another week, there will be huge lay-offs in the meat processing and packaging sectors," he warned.
(With inputs from PTI.)
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