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Centre halves grant for abattoir revamp

Mayor Subrata Mukherjee has asked the state government to match a Central grant of Rs 5 crore to facelift the decrepit abattoir at Tangra. The century-old abattoir is the city’s biggest slaughterhouse. Hygienic conditions have hit rock-bottom for want of maintenance.

The civic authorities and the food-processing department of the state government had sent the Centre a Rs 10-crore modernisation proposal about six years ago. Recently, Delhi conveyed its decision to offer Rs 5 crore for the revamp. “I will ask the state food processing department for the other Rs 5 crore,” said Mukherjee. Since the state food processing department, too, wrote to the Centre for funds to modernise the Tangra slaughterhouse, it would have to cough up the matching grant, he said. “We are ready to share the burden with the state government,” Mukherjee added.

Australian consultant Aegis, appointed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to conduct a preliminary survey identifying areas to be included in Calcutta’s Environment Improvement Project, had included the Tangra slaughterhouse in its draft proposal. However, revamping the abattoir had been dropped while finalising the Rs 1,245-crore scheme, to be implemented with ADB’s loan assistance.

According to mayor-in-council (health) member Javed Ahmed Khan, there are four CMC slaughterhouses in the city — at Chitpore, Halsibagan, Tangra and Lansdowne Road. A fifth on Debendra Khatik Road is for pigs. More than 400 cows and buffaloes are slaughtered daily at Tangra. In the other abattoirs, only goats and sheep are slaughtered. Another 3,000 goats and sheep are slaughtered daily in more than 1,200 butcher shops across the city, though the CMC Act prohibits slaughtering of animals in private places or shops.

Admitting that the CMC lacked the infrastructural facilities to cater to the total need of the city, Khan said the need of the hour was an integrated, modern slaughterhouse.

Earlier, the Centre had sanctioned a grant of Rs 9 crore to the CMC to supply refrigerators to meat-sellers at a subsidised rate. Only 67 had been found fit by the CMC health inspectors for the 75 per cent government subsidy to buy a refrigerator. Hygienic conditions, cleanliness and availability of water were some of the factors taken into consideration for the scheme, Khan said.

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