The purpose of shifting the meat slaughtering business to Ghazipur seems to be lost as a number of illegal butcher shops are now in operation close to the modern abattoir in East Delhi.

At a meeting of the East Delhi Municipal Corporation on Monday, several councillors, both from the BJP and the Congress, brought up the problem of unauthorised meat shops in the area.

“The illegal meat shops are in operation with the involvement of the inspectors. There is definitely corruption,” said Varyam Kaur, the Leader of the Opposition in the BJP-led House.

The unauthorised slaughter houses use dead and diseased animals, said Ms. Kaur, adding that public health is suffering because of the unhygienic conditions. “People are falling sick and there are many general health problems associated with these shops,” she said.

Adding to the problem, some councillors alleged, the Ghazipur abattoir was not functioning to capacity. A private company runs the abattoir in three shifts. The company was supposed to run one shift for itself and two for the public, but, it was alleged in the House, that it was only running one shift for the public.

Taking action against the illegal slaughter houses, the Corporation’s Director of Veterinary Services has been conducting raids and sealing them.

“In the last week, 20 illegal meat slaughter shops have been sealed. Our drive against these shops is on,” said Sanjay Surjan, the chairman of the Standing Committee.

A total of 15 FIRs had been registered against these shops, EDMC Additional Commissioner Pawan Kumar Sharma told the House. He said photographs of the shops should be given to the police, to initiate action against them.

Explaining the reason behind the mushrooming of illegal shops, Mr. Surjan said: “People don’t take licences for the meat shops because they might not have the proper documents, they might be operating out of unauthorised colonies or the shop’s size may not meet the requirement”.

According to former Delhi Chief Secretary Rakesh Mehta, who was responsible for setting up the Ghazipur slaughter house, the illegal trade is not meant to service the demand for meat in Delhi. “I don’t think the demand in Delhi is that much that people will resort to illegal slaughtering,” he said.

Mr. Mehta, a former MCD Commissioner, said: “The illegal slaughtering happens on border areas, like Loni Road. Uttar Pradesh doesn’t have a proper slaughter house”.

When he was the Commissioner, he said, the MCD had found cold storage units in the Timarpur area. “The meat was being brought from Aligarh, but it was not for Delhi. It was meant for export,” said Mr. Mehta.

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