Even as people go ballistic over news of meat shops being closed down across UP, what the government is doing is simply enforcing rules regarding slaughter and transport of animals. These rules were hardly wielded by municipal corporations so far.
Under the Uttar Pradesh Municipal Corporation Act, 1959, it is a mandatory service of local bodies to provide fresh and hygienic meat to people while ensuring construction and regulation of slaughterhouse within city limits. Sections 421 to 430 lay down rules for functioning of a slaughterhouse, sale of animals and control of private slaughterhouses.
As most established slaughterhouses and meat shops were running without licence, there is a big meat crisis in the state now that rules have been enforced. According to Nagar Palika Parishads, around 140 slaughterhouses and over 50,000 meat shops were running illegally in UP under the nose of officials as no one cared to follow the norms.
After the famous Lakshmi Narayan Modi vs Union of India case, in which SC ordered all state governments in 2012 to form committees for monitoring modernisation and relocation of slaughterhouses in every city and ensure that appropriate measures are taken to deal with their solid waste and pollution, the UP Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) issued closure orders to around 140 illegal slaughterhouses in UP.
However, despite those orders in 2012, most of them were still operational. CM Yogi Adityanath's government launched an campaign against illegal slaughtering of cattle and forced the bureaucracy to act upon rules in three days. Over 100 illegal slaughterhouses and hundreds of unauthorised butcher shops have been shut down.
Consider this: In Lucknow alone, around 1,000 illegal shops were operating. Of these, 200 were closed by LMC this week. Many have shut shop in fear of being interrogated and punished by police.