Lucknow: The Allahabad high court directed the Yogi Adityanath government on Friday to start issuing fresh licences to meat shops and renew old ones in Uttar Pradesh, weeks after officials began shutting “illegal” slaughterhouses that sparked multiple strikes and crippled supplies.
Justice A.P. Shahi of the court’s Lucknow bench said that the state government cannot shy away from its responsibility of regulating slaughterhouses. The order comes as relief for large sections of population as UP is the country’s biggest meat producer, and the Rs 15,000-crore industry employs 25 lakh people
The order says even those whose slaughterhouses were shut can now apply for licences. The court sought a report from the government on July 17.
The order came after many establishments alleged that they were shut despite their applications for licence renewal pending with the government. UP has 38 legal slaughterhouses, which mostly export meat. There are about 10,000 illegal slaughterhouses (small and big) across UP that cater to domestic demand for goat and buffalo meat.
Mr Adityanath imposed a ban on all “illegal” slaughterhouses after assuming office in March, in line with promises made by the BJP in its election manifesto, to ensure public order, safety and health of the general public.
But various associations of retail meat sellers also shut shop, resulting in the closure of to non-vegetarian food joints, to protest the alleged action even against legal abattoirs. The court said on Friday that it was the responsibility of the local body to build proper slaughterhouses.
The court had asked the government in April to draw up a plan so that its crackdown on illegal slaughterhouses does not deprive people of their choice of food or livelihood, which was their right to life.