Qila Deedar Singh town administration on Monday assured the Butchers’ Association that they would consider rationalising the recent increase in slaughter fee. However, the administration said there was no way they would waive the raise altogether.
The assurance was given by the TMO Aslam Qamar after meetings between the Butchers’ Association and Gujranwala Commissioner Jabbar Shaheen and the district coordination officer.
Commissioner Shaheen told the media that he had heard the concerns of the butchers and would direct the town administration to rationalise the raise in the slaughter tariff.
Meanwhile, mutton and beef businesses remained suspended in the district on Monday on call of the district chapter of Butchers’ Association. Most restaurants that serve mutton and beef dishes switched to chicken.
Abdul Waheed, owner of Zameendar Restaurant on Kutchery Chowk, told The Tribune that his restaurant’s most popular dish, mutton in white curry, was not served on Monday because of the strike. He said only chicken dishes were available during lunch and dinner hours.
Some big restaurants, however, remained unaffected by the strike.
Shelton restaurant owner Sheikh Aslam said he had enough mutton stocked in his freezers to continue operations for several days. He said the strike would affect his business if it was not called of by the weekend.
Earlier, Gujranwala Butchers Association held a press conference to denounce the raise in slaughter levy. District chapter president Chaudhry Liaqat Ali said the strike would continue after the two meatless days, on Tuesday and Wednesday, unless the hike was revoked.
He said the association was set to meet AC (City) Syed Salahuddin to discuss the issue on Tuesday (today). He said the town administration had notified the raise without taking the butchers on board. He condemned as excessive the rise in tax per goat and lamb from Rs2.5 to Rs30 and per cow and calf from Rs7 to Rs60. He said it was unfair in light of the meagre facilities provided at the slaughter house.
He said the government was helping large firms export meat to other countries but was not helping those doing business within the country. He said many had already left the profession and that more would abandon it if the proposed rates were enforced.
He said at least 1,500 goats and lambs and 150 cows were brought to the slaughter house in Gujranwala every day.
Talking to The Tribune, TMO Aslam Qamar defended the revision in tax rate. He said that it was the first such revision since 1982. He said the town administration was unable to meet the expenses of the facility, including the salaries of its three employees and utility bills, at the current rates.
The sale of goat trotters brought from Lahore continued. Zaheer Ahmed said trotters were a popular breakfast item and were always in great demand in Gujranwala so many businesses had started getting them from Lahore.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 3rd, 2012.