GMC mandates sale of hygienic mutton; Mutton sellers upset with the move
To ensure sale of only hygienic mutton in Guwahati, the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) has asked all the mutton vendors to sell mutton after the same is slaughtered in the government run slaughterhouse only.
Veterinary doctor of GMC, Dr Pradeep Medhi said, “All the mutton sellers have to either buy or get the mutton slaughtered from the slaughterhouse where experts will verify if the mutton is consumable.”
If mutton sellers purchase the mutton from the slaughterhouse, the cost price will be Rs 420 per kilogram and they can charge Rs 500 from the customers to earn a profit of Rs 80 per kilogram.
If not purchased from the slaughterhouse, the live goats will have to be taken to the slaughterhouse where they will be kept under observation for 12 hours. The veterinary doctors from GMC and the slaughterhouse will conduct the ante and post mortem, and if the slaughtered mutton is found consumable, it will be marked with a GMC quality approval seal.
Medhi said that GMC veterinary doctors will keep inspecting the mutton shops in the city and anyone found selling slaughtered meat without the approval seal will be penalised.
In the backdrop of the Supreme Court’s instructions to ensure painless and scientific slaughter of livestock in 2014, the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) had, in the same year, initiated the process of implementation of the Slaughter House By-laws, 2012 in Guwahati. However, the decision had not been mandated so far.
There are around 180 licensed mutton shops in Guwahati and all are expected to follow the new rules. GMC sources said that the same technique will be implemented for sale of chicken and pork in the city within 2 to 3 months.
The Assam Livestock and Poultry Corporation (ALPC) run slaughterhouse is said to have state-of-the-art technology with most of the equipments having been imported.
The slaughterhouse has remained practically defunct for the last three years due to resistance from meat sellers and now, as the slaughterhouse is set to function continuously, the authorities feel that the move will ensure hygienic meat supply to the customers.
Mutton sellers upset with the move
After the urban local body’s decision, the mutton sellers of the city are upset with the same as they feel it will just be an added harassment to them.
A mutton seller from Colony Bazar, Md Yusuf Kureshi said, “In Delhi there are slaughterhouses in every area, and in Guwahati we just have one located at Panjabari.”
The mutton sellers will have to spend a fair amount by way of transportation costs if they have to take the goats to slaughterhouse for slaughtering or freight slaughtered meat from there to their respective vending outlets.
Furthermore, they have been asked to buy mutton at Rs 420 from the slaughterhouse and sell it at Rs 500, which they feel will give rise to a monopoly situation.
Another mutton seller from Paltan Bazar said, “The rates keep fluctuating depending on the season. During Holi, Dusshera and Bihu, we get the chance of earning more. We even incur losses as sometimes the slaughtered mutton does not get sold.” The GMC decision, according to them, is loss making for them as after bearing the cost of transportation they will earn very less and during seasons of high demand they will lose out on profits.
Fear of corruption
The mutton sellers also expressed apprehension that there might be a huge opportunity for corruption by the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) and slaughterhouse officials with this decision.
A mutton seller based in Ganeshguri said, “There will be times when the officials might demand money just to mark the mutton as hygienic,” adding that the decision will only give birth to a new syndicate.
The expert veterinary doctors claim that the ante and post mortem after 12 hours of observation will decide whether the mutton is 100% disease-free or not whereas the mutton sellers feel that the experts might just take advantage of such rules and might form a syndicate to fleece money from the mutton sellers.
If, after the mutton is slaughtered in the slaughterhouse, it is found to have disease it will not get the approval seal and so cannot be sold, which will result in a loss to the mutton seller. The mutton seller can never know before purchasing his goats whether a particular goat is disease-free or not, said a mutton seller.
Also on 7th February, some mutton sellers had gone to the slaughterhouse for purchasing mutton, but they were not able to do so as there was no stock. So a line of thought has surfaced that once people start buying mutton from only the slaughterhouse, the authorities will control the demand and supply, and if anyone pays more another syndicate might start.