With abrupt closure of unlicensed meat shops in Noida, the city dwellers are buying meat at higher rates from the legal meat vendors.
The city saw major crackdown on unlicensed meat shops by police after the new chief minister Yogi Adityanath took charge.
The Times of India reported that nearly 1,000 illegal vendors were operating in Greater Noida, which now stand closed.
BP Kumar, who heads the civil administrative wing of the Noida Authority, told Firstpost that none of the meat shops were licensed by it.
“The District Magistrate’s office issues license to meat shops. The drive against the illegal ones is also conducted by them,” he said.
“Police officials came to my shop and told me to wind up business as I do not have license to sell meat,” says Rizwan, a meat seller in Sector 49 in Noida.
Rizwan, who is now vacating his makeshift shop, that he took on rent a couple of years ago, further said that not only the meat sellers but also the fish sellers were told to shut down their business.
“They came again to ensure that we followed the instructions. They checked if we still had stocks of fish and poultry in our shops,” he added.
The police department claimed that there was no dearth of meat in Noida, even after the closure of unlicensed shops, as there were licensed shops too.
“Most of the hundred meat shops in the jurisdiction of Noida and Greater Noida were found to be legal. The illegal ones were immediately sealed, but it has not caused any problem to the general public as they catered to few customers,” Dharmendra Singh, SSP Gautam Budh Nagar said to Hindustan Times.
Despite claims made by police department, buyers complain of high price of meat in licensed shops, as the unlicensed were seen as the cheaper places despite the fact that they did not adhere to many of the food safety standards laid by the ‘Food Safety Standards Act 2006’.
“We used to get chicken at Rs 200 per kilogram and mutton at Rs 400 per kilogram at the most, from the shops in our neighborhood,” says Pushpinder Singh, a resident of Barola village near sector 49 in Noida.
But he says that after the unlicensed shops were closed he went to a licensed meat shop, where he found that chicken was sold at Rs 240 and mutton at Rs 480 per kilogram respectively.
Shakeel Abbas, a worker in a licensed meat shop told Firstpost that the price of meat is higher in licensed shops due to high operating costs.
“Most of these shops have electricity run cold storages to stock meat. Moreover they have trained manpower at work. Most important factor of cost escalation is the location where these shops are functional,” he said.
Most of the licensed shops are in the community markets of various sectors in Noida, which are seen as posh localities in comparison to the slums and villages where unlicensed ones operated.
The unlicensed meat shops that operated in makeshift stalls or on the roadside had hardly any operating cost.
Many unlicensed meat sellers have now applied for permission for their shops, reports The Times of India.
As per norms these vendors have to apply for registration to the officer designated by the Food Safety Commissioner.
But many of these new applicants are unlikely to get permission as they cannot adhere to the food safety norms.
As per norms meat shops must be of concrete structure with adequate sanitation system, setting up of which costs a few lakhs of rupees, which most of them cannot afford.
The National Green Tribunal in the year 2015 imposed a ban on all illegal slaughter houses in Uttar Pradesh and directed state authorities to ensure that there is proper regulation of meat shops.
But, it took Yogi Adityanath to become the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh to ban the illegal meat shops that were seen as major health hazards in the state.
With most of the small players in the meat market wiped out the 100 or so licensed meat sellers are likely to gain control of the supply chain, changing the market forever.
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Updated Date: Mar 28, 2017 16:13:42 IST