The Chennai Corporation announced that all slaughterhouses and meat shops within the city's limits will be shut down during the lockdown period from June 19 to June 30.

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news Coronavirus Friday, June 19, 2020 - 17:56

At a time when sales have dipped and footfalls have reduced drastically, restaurants in Chennai are forced to deal with yet another challenge in the latest lockdown. Access to retail meat shops and slaughter houses have been suddenly cut off, leaving restaurateurs struggling to serve non-vegetarian dishes in the city.

The Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) on Thursday evening announced that all slaughterhouses and meat shops within the city's limits will be shut down during the lockdown period from June 19 to June 30.  There are four slaughter houses within GCC limits — Perambur, Saidapet, Kallikuppam and Villivakkam — in addition to numerous retail meat shops. And now with no access to meat from these venues, restaurants that serve non-vegetarian food have been left hanging without an alternative.

Sources in the Corporation tell TNM that the decision is a result of overcrowding in meat shops but restaurant owners are distraught.

"Several restaurants are already facing heavy losses and don't know if they will survive in the coming months," says M Ravi, President, The Chennai Hotels Association and Chairman of Vasanta Bhavan Hotels India Pvt. Ltd. "We have completely lost business and migrant staffers have all returned to their hometowns. And now with this new rule on slaughterhouses and meat sales, even deliveries will be affected," he adds.

Speaking to TNM, a member from the restaurant Thalappakatti's management says that the chain restaurants is bracing itself for a huge blow.

"As far as chicken is concerned, we won't have a problem because we source frozen chicken from large scale producers like Suguna or Shanthi for our daily needs. They will continue to supply this for us," he says. "But the bigger problem is when it comes to mutton and fish. These are two items that we buy directly from slaughter houses or from the market because we only make them fresh. This is because chicken is something people regularly make at home. But mutton and fish largely sell in restaurants and if we are not able to meet that demand, we are going to have a tough time," he adds.

The restaurant association points out that GCC could have at least warned them before taking such a decision and that it would have helped them better prepare for the situation.

"We have our own farm and could have sourced mutton from there before the lockdown. We are still trying to get passes for this but are waiting for approval," says the manager in Thalappakatti.

In Anjappar (another chain of restaurants), the management tells TNM that they have stopped selling mutton because it has been so difficult to procure and they are selling only chicken dishes as of now. Here too, they buy frozen chicken for preparation of dishes.

Restaurants that serve meat further agree that business for the coming Sunday will plummet with no mutton, which is essential for biryani.

"If we are struggling this much, it will be even harder for roadside shops which buy vegetables and meat on a daily basis and have to travel to get these ingredients," says the Thalappakatti manager. "They will have to completely stop sales," he adds.

The president of the association says restaurant owners have been trying to discuss the matter with the government but to no avail.

"We are sincere tax paying citizens and our losses need to be acknowledged," says Ravi. "The state government must meet us and listen to our concerns." 



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