Gurgaon: The MCG showed great alacrity on Tuesday in sending its officials out to inspect meat shops and shut any that were found to be open, though a formal order on the decision taken last week to enforce the weekly closing was yet to be issued.
Most meat shops remained shut. Those that had opened were warned that the premises would be sealed if they were found to have opened for business on Tuesdays.
Owners of meat shops at DLF-1, Sadar Bazar, Sector-31 and other areas were seen sitting outside their shops, telling customers about the MCG’s ‘farmaan’ (diktat) and that they were helpless. Before this, meat shops could choose a weekly closing day the owners preferred.
With the order specifying that meat shops are to remain closed on all Tuesdays yet to be issued, MCG officials said they had informed meat shop owners about the March 18 decision of the MCG House. “We have around 80 members of the health staff of MCG, who went to markets to make meat shop owners aware about the decision of the MCG House to keep shops closed on Tuesdays. The decision is for all the meat shop owners, irrespective of whether they have obtained meat licences from MCG or not,” said Dr Ashish Singla, senior medical officer, MCG.
MCG started issuing licences to meat shop owners only in the 2017-18 fiscal year. It issued 129 licences that year but none since, officials said. The decision to close meat shops on Tuesdays was taken at the meeting after two councillors demanded it, citing religious sentiments.
“We had opened our shops in the morning and then some officials from MCG came and told us that shops will have to be closed on Tuesdays. If we don’t close our shops, they will be sealed. It is for the first time in 50 years that all meat shops of this market had to be closed,” said Akhtar Khan, a meat shop owner in Sadar Bazar.
Khan’s friend, Mohammad Sartaj, who also has a meat shop in Sadar Bazar, added, “We are not in favour of this decision since it is going to affect our sales. But our opinion has no value.”
Meat sections in a few supermarkets were open on Tuesday. “We have not received a formal communication yet from the MCG. We have kept our non-veg section open and sale of meat is usual like any other day,” said Mausam Chauhan, who works at Le Marche’s outlet on Golf Course Road.
Modern Bazar had closed its non-veg section, following MCG’s decision. “Our supermarket is open but we have not opened our meat section since MCG has decided to keep meat shops closed on Tuesdays. Customers visiting the supermarket are also being told about MCG’s decision,” said Amit, who works at Modern Bazar’s Cyber Hub outlet.
Shop owners said some customers who visited the meat shops and were turned away told them they would now order meat online. Some customers openly expressed their displeasure.