Just when the crackdown on "illegal" slaughterhouses in Uttar Pradesh was raising doubts about its overall effect on the ecology of Indian exports and the $4.8 billion industry, five more BJP-ruled states have decided to follow suit of the north Indian state that is so far the largest producer of beef in the country.
According to a report in News18, similar clampdown id being reported from Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana, all of which have a BJP-led government at the helm.
According to a report in The Times of India, Jharkhand government too has given the "illegally" operating slaughterhouses in the state an ultimatum, giving them 72 hours to stop their operations or gain proper clearances from the relevant state authorities. The report further states that not one abattoir in Jharkhand had got clearance from the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), adding that the Ranchi Municipal Corporation has given licences to a few units.
It is noteworthy here, that slaughterhouses are deemed highly polluting industries, and require a range of environmental and food grade clearances before they can operate.
Similar reports came from Rajasthan, where more than 4,000 illegal shops in Jaipur face crackdown by the end of this week, according to Zee News. Meat sellers, however, allege that the government has not renewed or issued any licences since March 2016, calling it a part of larger conspiracy. They also claim that at least 950 of the 4,000 shops currently facing shut down were legal. In Haridwar, Uttarakhand, three meat shops were sealed while 11 were shut in Raipur and one in Indore, News 18 report said.
Besides this, in Gurugram, Haryana, Shiv Sena workers have reportedly arm-twisted meet vendors, including a KFC outlet, into shutting shops in view of Navratri. The party workers also wanted all meat shops to remain shut on every Tuesday claiming that Hindus abstain from meat eating on this day.
Moreover, as another report in India Today states that impressed by the action in UP, Haryana cow protection groups are already urging the state's chief minister to impose a shutdown on the illegal slaughterhouses. This is in addition to the fact that the government has decided not to issue any more fresh licenses to slaughterhouses. This development is especially unsurprising, Haryana is also the state where much brouhaha has emerged around beef and cow slaughter. The state's chief minister had gone all out pitching for domesticating cows, while promising government benefits to people who would breed cows. Haryana is also the state where samples of beef biryani were collected and tested in laboratries to determine whether the meat used was cow meat.
The action in these states come close at the heels of UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath's promise to uproot the illegal meat industry. The BJP had also vowed to shut down all illegal slaughterhouses and place curbs on all mechanical abattoirs in the state.
However, the sudden clampdown — without duly addressing the concerns of over Rs 15,000-crore industry, which employs more than 25 lakh people in the state — had hit the industry hard with experts opining it will cripple certain job-generating industries dependent on the slaughterhouses.
A research by IndiaSpend shows that the crackdown hurting the slaughterhouse ecology will also trigger a domino effect that could impact diverse, rural and urban economic and social systems not just in UP but nationwide. The article pointed out that the slaughterhouse ban will also cripple the meat industry, leather tanneries and livestock industry.
Industry experts are already predicting a price hike after Navratri, as acute meat shortage is likely to threaten Delhi meat industry as it relies heavily on meat purchased from neighbouring states of UP and Punjab.
The ban has caused serious concerns about the meat industry in the state, which according to APEDA, an export regulator for agricultural and processed food products, is the highest producer of meat with 19.1 percent share of the national figure, followed by Andhra Pradesh at 15.2 percent and West Bengal at 10.9 percent.
Now with other states following suite, it can substantially threaten the huge industry which fetches India it's largest share of foreign exports, according to a report in CNN-Money. The report notes that for a country that revers its cows, a substantial increase in red meat export has shot up and it "now earns India more export dollars than basmati rice."
Another report in Quartz points out that not only is India the largest exporter of beef but it has widened its export margin over Brazil, which was the top exporter till 2012. In the entire last fiscal, 2015-16, the exports aggregated Rs 26,684 crore with the main export destinations including Vietnam, Malaysia, Egypt, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia.
Firstpost is now on WhatsApp. For the latest analysis, commentary and news updates, sign up for our WhatsApp services. Just go to Firstpost.com/Whatsapp and hit the Subscribe button.
Updated Date: Mar 29, 2017 18:57:12 IST