Only 2,109 stalls are registered with civic body, while actual number of shops is pegged at 10,000; officials feign ignorance about the issue
Around 8,000 illegal meat stalls have been making a killing in the city with near impunity for years and bleeding the exchequer of Rs 50 crore annually in the process.
When the BJP-ruled BMMP claims to be unaware of these butchery shops functioning right under its nose, opposition JD (S) corporators allege that civic body officials may be hand in glove with the wrongdoers.
While these illegal shops make a profit of about Rs 5 lakh annually, BBMP incurs a loss of around Rs 5 crore, because of their evasion of tax
Though the official figure of meat stalls registered with BMMP is 2,109, a MiD DAY investigation exposes the total number of butchery shops at around 10,000 in the city.
When this reporter confronted the BMMP officials with the staggering figures of illegal meat shops in the city along with proof, they feigned ignorance about the issue.
While these illegal shops make a profit of about 5 lakh annually, BBMP incurs a loss of around Rs 5 crore because of tax evasion by them.
Forget about regularising these meat shops, BBMP seems to be reluctant to accept their existence officially.
And the health committee of the civic body that is supposed to conduct inspection of such shops before issuing licences has washed its hands off the issue.
Officials of the health department have apparently indulged in a blame game. They are now shifting the blame to the Animal Husbandry department for the lapse.
Even as the inter-departmental blame game continues in the BBMP, the authorities remain tight-lipped on the issue.
However, the opposition leader in the corporation attacked the BJP and hinted at a nexus between the ruling party corporators and shop owners. "I had placed an RTI to expose the same lapse a couple of months ago.
The ruling party corporators did not seem to be shocked by the entire episode. We found that there are illegal meat shops in four important wards Lakshmidevi Nagar, Sampangiram Nagar, Domlur and Agram all ruled by BJP.
This is, however, not the only problem. All these illegal shops dump their waste wherever they want.
This attracts stray dogs in the area. The BBMP is suffering a loss of Rs 5 crore annually as the health department is not taking action ," said Padmanabha Reddy, JDS Opposition leader in the council.
The Chairman of the Health Committee, who has been busy announcing compensations to dog bite victims across the city, also pleaded ignorance about the issue. However, he too passed the blame to another department.
"I have to look into matter first, four months ago we wanted to do some thing on this issue, but the respective department was short staffed.
Now, I will instruct the Animal Husbandry Department to initiate action," Said Geetha Sashikumar, Chairman, Health Committee, BBMP.
After drawing flak from all quarters, now the Animal Husbandry Department plans to crack the whip on such shops, following MiD DAY's expose.
"We will not tolerate illegal meat shops as they are not only functioning illegally, but are also spreading an epidemic.
We know people are making a living out of this. But if its illegal, they will have to shut down and face action.
We cannot compromise on the issue related to public health, we have instructed all our staff crackdown on such illegal shops," said Dr Parvez Ahmed Piran, Joint Director, Animal Husbandry Department, BBMP.