With COVID-19 lockdown extended, meat sellers forced to shut shop

Updated: 18 April, 2020 07:12 IST | Arita Sarkar | Mumbai

Sealing of borders means supply of livestock has stopped; over 1,000 Deonar abattoir workers jobless

Mohammad Ali Qureshi, Bombay Suburban Beef Dealers' Association
Mohammad Ali Qureshi, Bombay Suburban Beef Dealers' Association

The sealing of borders between districts and states during the lockdown, has stopped the supply of livestock, causing meat sellers across the city to shut shop. Over a thousand workers at the Deonar abattoir are jobless.

Sulaiman Shaikh, 39, an abattoir worker, earned around Rs 10,000 per month. However, in the past two months, he has made nothing. "I earned enough for my family. But now I can't afford anything. We got rice and wheat on the ration card, but 1 kg daal is for Rs 60 and this month, they ran out of it," he said.

Supply has stopped

In Mumbai, buffaloes and goats are only slaughtered at the Deonar abattoir which is managed by the civic body. A Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) official said all livestock is brought from neighbouring districts or states. "While buffaloes come from Thane, Satara and Sangli, goats come from Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Rajasthan. However, since the borders were sealed, supply has stopped," said the official.

Mohammed Ali Qureshi, president of the Bombay Suburban Beef Dealers' Association, mentioned that while most foods fall under essential commodities, there are various challenges around meat.

"The livestock is purchased by traders at animal fairs, which have stopped. They can't go to villages to purchase livestock either, since the border is sealed. With the lockdown extended, many meat shops closed," he said. He added that more than 1,000 abattoir workers have no money and are not getting enough ration. Also, the abattoir is located in Deonar, now a containment area.

Supporting their workers

The situation has worsened for meat shop workers too. Sharafat Qureshi, 45, who had to close his meat shop in Mahim, is supporting three workers. "I pay them some money but can't pay salaries," he said.

Anil D'Souza, owner of Joseph's Cold Storage in Bandra West said the abattoir should start at 50 per cent capacity at least, with safety measures in place. Despite several calls and messages, Sunil Kedar, minister for animal husbandry and Sanjeev Jaiswal, a member of the COVID-19 task force responsible for supplies, were not available for comment.

No. of abattoir workers who have no money

Rs 60
Total price of 1 kg dal on ration card

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First Published: 18 April, 2020 06:50 IST

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