NEW DELHI: While the Delhi government has allowed the liquor shops, fish and chicken markets to operate after easing of the lockdown with effect from June 8, the livestock market and the only slaughter house at Ghazipur on the outskirts of the national capital remains closed since the lockdown was imposed on March 24.
The decision of the government has not only caused problems to non-vegetarian people all over Delhi but also rendered lakhs of people jobless. According to those in the meat trade in the national capital, the number of non-vegetarians in Delhi are over 1.5 crores, out of a total population of 2.5 crores.
The non-veg population of Delhi got their meat supplies-goat and buffalo meat- through 6000 retail outlets all over the city.
Delhi Meat Merchant Association (DMMA) president Arshad Habib Qureshi told India Tomorrow that the meat suppliers got their animals slaughtered in the Ghazipur slaughter house and then supplied it to shopkeepers in different parts of the national capital.
“As slaughter house remains closed since the lockdown, it has created problems for those in meat business, including livestock suppliers, meat traders and those associated with this trade”, said Qureshi.
He said that a total of 30,000 goat and 1,000 buffaloes are required to meet the meat supply of the national capital.
But even this slaughter house does not have the capacity to meet the total requirement of Delhi.
According to Qureshi, the Ghazipur modernized slaughter house, that was constructed after closing the old manual slaughter house in Eidgah area in Quraish Nagar in Old Delhi, has the capacity to slaughter only 3,000 goats and 500 buffaloes. The new slaughter house runs in three shifts: from 6 am to 2pm, 2pm to 10 pm and 10 pm to 6 am.
Qureshi said that while 2 pm to 10 pm shift has been allotted to Allana House, India’s biggest meat exporters, 6 am to 2pm slot is used by domestic meat suppliers. The third shift from 10 pm to 6 am goes unused because it is not suitable for domestic meat suppliers and traders.
There are also separate platforms for slaughtering goats and buffaloes. The ‘halal’ section is totally separate from ‘jhatka’ section. A total of 500 butchers and supervisors work at the slaughter house located on the borders with Ghaziabad on NH-24
Arshad said that there are a total of 6,000 meat shops all over the national capital. The figures, according to him are those for which the municipal corporations have issued licenses. The numbers may be more if the unlicensed shops operating in lanes and bylanes away from the police gaze are also counted. Qureshi, however, denies that there are unlicensed meat shops operating in Delhi.
The Ghazipur slaughter house basically comes under the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) but the latter had leased out the slaughter house to Allanas for 10 years in 2009 as EDMC was not able to run it. The Allanas got six months extension after the lease period was over in August 2019 and continued till the lockdown was announced.
While EDMC commissioner could not be contacted despite several efforts, Ghazipur slaughter house manager Kuldeep refused to answer as to why the slaughter was not opened.
As the existing slaughter house under EDMC is highly inadequate to meet the demands of the national capital, Qureshi said that three more slaughter houses are required: one each in Municipal Corporation of Delhi, North Delhi Municipal Corporation and South Delhi Municipal Corporation. The separate slaughter houses under different municipal corporations will also make the job of the meat traders easier because they would not have to travel all along to Ghazipur on NH-24, which is bordering Ghaziabad district of Uttar Pradesh.
Each of the slaughter houses, according to Qureshi, would require at least 20 to 25 acres of land. Qureshi says that the matter went to the court and SDMC and NDMC, in their affidavits, coneded that the demand is genuine but the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) under the Central government that owns the land in the national capital said there is no land available with it. The DDA, Qureshi said, replied that it is for Delhi State Industrial Development Corporation (DSIDC), reponsible for infrastructure development, to look into the issue. The matter, according to Qureshi, is still pending in the court.