Mumbai: The Maharashtra government’s decision to ban beef is going to affect nearly 20 lakh people whose livelihood depends on the business and Mumbai alone will loose business worth Rs 50 crore. Also, the price of other meats is likely to go up and beef traders fear that the ban will encourage smuggling of beef.
“There are at least 20,000 members of the Qureshi community associated with the beef business in Maharashtra. This is their family business and they have been doing it for generations. The leather industry, farmers, middlemen, workers at slaughterhouses, retailers are also associated with the business. But the government has not offered any alternative for them, especially the Qureshi community, who will be completely jobless,” said Abdul Jameel Qureshi from the Beef Traders’ Association. In the city alone, the turnover of the beef trade is of Rs 50 crore, he said.
The BJP-led Maharashtra government pushed for the ban on beef under the Animal Preservation (amendment) Bill 1995 after coming to power and got it the President’s assent on Monday. Slaughter of cows and calves was banned in the state since 1976 and now the government has added bulls and bullocks to the list. Maharashtra is the ninth state in the country banning slaughtering of bulls and bullocks.
According to the Bill, the slaughtering will be a non-bailable and a cognisable offence. The guilty will be imposed with fine of `10,000 and imprisonment up to five years. Earlier, the imprisonment was for six months.
Expressing fear that the blanket ban on the beef would encourage smuggling, Mohammed Qureshi president of Mumbai Suburban Beef Dealers’ Association said that the farmers and poor people would be affected the most.
“The farmers will be compelled to sell their animals at very low prices and the middlemen will slaughter it in villages, so that the police or authorities cannot catch them. The government decision will encourage smuggling of beef,” he said. Poor people will be forced to look for alternatives and since so many people would have lost one source of food, other meats are bound to become more expensive....