The recent step taken by the newly appointed Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh (UP) Yogi Adityanath on illegal slaughter houses is good for the public health. Some of us may argue on factors like loss of livelihood, loss of income, or why only illegal slaughter houses? After the entire problem is very grave and illegal shops are just a drop in the ocean.
Yet, you will be shocked to learn how many lives these illegal shops were affecting. How men, women & children staying close to these shops are suffering every day. Bulandshahr, Ghaziabad, Sambhal and Aligarh are hubs of illegal slaughter houses in UP. These areas have a huge slum population and surrounding residential colonies. One of the prime reasons for poor public health in UP is infectious diseases caused due to the poor living environment, and access to safe water supply and sanitation.
Imagine what happens when a health catastrophe like Bird Flu hits these slum areas? Who will investigate the health of the chicken to determine whether it is affected or not? Since there is no inspection of the chicken/bird people consume, your food safety is not guaranteed at any time.
Developing an illegal slaughter house between residential areas poses more risks than we can even imagine!
These set of illegal meat shops were operating without a license. Legally it means that they did not have a valid license to operate, and did not have other legal permissions like NOC for waste management, pollution management etc.
So, in a way, there was poison on the plates of the local people in UP. Of course, there is no direct proof of that as many of us believe that there has been no epidemic reported so far. But then, we all know that UP has a high rate of stunted growth, malnourished children, and a large section of people suffering health problems.
These illegal meat shops were giving unhealthy meat to the consumers. There is no guarantee that the chicken or meat served to you is not sick, infected, or is even clean and hygienic. In addition, the animal waste and blood were seen flowing in the drains of slums and residential colonies of UP. Several times, animal carcasses were found in the drainage system.
This affected the environment, the air, the ground-water, resulting in the foul smell, infections, and much more. The untreated contaminated ground water was also polluting Ganga and Yamuna.
Irrespective of the political reasons, people of the state were suffering miserably in their day-to-day lives. The very safety of the area and the families living around was in danger. There was a continuous stink which people in the slums and surrounding colonies had to bear. Which civilized society lives like this? Slum areas are dirty; but then, who will bother about their health? It should be the government only.
We know a single step is not a complete solution in itself. But it has to start somewhere. The present state government has taken a bold move. These illegal meat shops were a threat to the basic democratic right of an individual, which is to live with dignity in safety.
Now, the new norm in UP is – buy only stamped meat. The health inspector will visit the butcher shops and investigate the condition of the meat-to-be sold. The authorities will then give an approval posting a stamp on it. This is indeed a welcome move!