Delhi’s abattoir shut amid protests


New Delhi, The raging five-year battle between the civic agency and meat trader associations in the national capital saw its final turn Thursday when the centuries old Eidgah slaughterhouse near the walled city was closed down on Supreme Court’s directives.

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The two-century-old abattoir, which has provided steady livelihood to thousands of people down the years, was shut and slaughter activities will now be shifted to the high-tech slaughter house in east Delhi’s Ghazipur.

“The Supreme Court for the umpteenth time turned down meat-trader association requests to let the abattoir remain open till Id-ul-Zuha on Nov 28. We are in the process of shutting the Eidgah slaughter house and activities will be shifted to the Ghazipur abattoir,” Municipal Corporation of Delhi spokesperson Deep Mathur told IANS.

Although the Eidgah slaughterhouse was sealed a day earlier, hundreds had gathered at the Shahi Eidgah prayer grounds in Paharganj to protest the move.

Several meat traders and distributors are based in the area and feel the shift would mean uprooting their livelihood.

“The shift means we will either have to shift business or spend on travel and transport services to the new abattoir,” said Mohammed Asif, a meat vendor from Paharganj.

Others have also voiced discontent that the new facility costs double for services.

“It will cost us Rs.50 to get the animals slaughtered at the new place compared to the earlier Rs.25 fee. The cartage to and fro will also be costly because I will have to hire transportation now,” said another meat vendor.

The MCD feels that since the new abattoir will operate in a more hygienic manner, traders should be willing to shell out more.

“This move is also to check the ongoing illegal slaughtering activities in the area,” a senior MCD official said.

“We are doing this under the court directives since the area is congested and the new facility is much better,” Mathur said.

The MCD has contracted maintenance, operations and export of meat at the Ghazipur facility to a company for a monthly rent of Rs.5 million for a ten-year period.

However, the road leading to the new facility is littered with dead rats and bird droppings. There is a massive garbage dumpyard in the vicinity.

But Mathur says the MCD is investing into “improving environment”. He said: “We are slowly taking care of the garbage problem and are putting plantations for converting the area to green cover.”

Traders associations have also questioned the capacity of the new slaughterhouse. They say that Delhi’s meat demand is 10,000 animals a day but abattoir can handle only 5,000.