Yogi ushers in ‘jungle raj’ in Uttar Pradesh
In shutting down meat processing units without serving even a show-cause notice, the BJP Government is hardly setting a sterling example of good governance
Shutting down meat processing units without serving a show-cause notice and giving an opportunity to the units to defend themselves is akin to ‘Jungle Raj’, exclaimed a distraught owner of one such unit in Western Uttar Pradesh.
His unit, he explained, was running for the past 15 years and had been set up at an outlay of over ₹200 crore. The mechanised processing unit was exporting buff meat and complied with all legal provisions, he claimed. But days after the BJP Government took over power in the state, his unit was ‘raided’ and shut down on the flimsy excuse that a CCTV camera was not functioning.
“Give us a show-cause notice first. Allow us at least 24 hours to reply and then take a call,” he claims to have pleaded with officials. But they said they were merely carrying out orders from the top.
In the first three days after Yogi Adityanath was sworn in as chief minister, three large meat processing units in the state have been shut down along with hundreds of allegedly illegal abattoirs, affecting the supply chain and disrupting the business.
India is said to export buff meat worth ₹26,000 crore annually, almost half of it processed in Uttar Pradesh. Fauzan Alavi, a spokesman of the All India Meat and Livestock Exporters Association, confirms that orders worth ₹4,000 crore were cancelled by buyers since February itself.
Ever since the Bharatiya Janata Party included in its manifesto for Uttar Pradesh the resolve to act against illegal abattoirs, the buyers in Africa, Eastern Europe etc started cancelling orders, apprehending a disruption in supply. “They began to tap the Latin American market,” said an entrepreneur.
“The abattoirs are given licenses by municipal authorities. They are supposed to ensure that conditions are met. They also renew the licenses from year to year. But most municipal administrations in UP, and in large parts of the country, are weak and corrupt. If the Government is serious about the problem, it should first streamline the municipalities,” pointed out a businessman in Lucknow on condition of anonymity.
But it is easier to mobilise cheap publicity, he suggested, by raiding units, shutting down abattoirs with TV cameras in tow. Streamlining municipal governance will clearly take a lot more time.
Alavi, camping in Lucknow, told National Herald over the phone that he had been assured by both new ministers and officials that units following the rules would not be singled out.
But there is still a lack of clarity, he conceded. It is wrong, he suggested, to assume that the industry employs only Muslims. At least 40% of the workers engaged are from OBCs, he claimed.
In the meanwhile, while the Yogi takes shortcuts to headlines, livelihood of thousands of people in Uttar Pradesh, if not in lakhs, seem to have been disrupted.