The Vijayawada Municipal Corporation has imposed a 17-day meat ban in the city from August 9 to August 25.
The ban has been imposed on account of Krishna Pushkarams, which is slated to begin on August 12. But the no-meat rule has garnered mixed reactions from people in the city.
Anil Kumar, a hotel owner said, “Pushkarams comes once in 12 years. I don’t see this as a problem as I can run my hotel for these days without serving non-vegetarian items. But there are many who survive on meat business. Poultry shops, fishermen and labourers who transport meat will face a lot of problem.”
Although there was no such meat ban in 2004 or in 1992, opposition leaders expressed no surprise in the Chandrababu Naidu government’s move.
Speaking to The News Minute, Roja, YSRCP legislator said, “He did not consult anyone on the meat ban. Nor does he consult us on anything else. Last year during Godavari Pushkarams he made a lot of promotions. He gave permission to a movie shooting. There was a stampede resulting in death of 29 people.”
Calling the ban unnecessary, Habeeb Ur-Rehman, Muslim United Front President said, “Liquor should be banned in Krishna district instead of meat during Pushkarams. Who is Chandrababu Naidu to stop people from eating meat? Everyone has their own way of celebrating festivals. Infact most of the people who come to Pushkarams prefer eating meat after the dip is taken.”
While some residents wondered how the government can decide what the public should or should not eat, meat shop owners expressed concern over their livelihood being hit.
Nagendra runs a chicken centre in Vijayawada and is worried about closing down his shop for 17 straight days. “The government should either compensate us for the losses or allow us to sell meat. The government takes care of government employees if they go on bandh, but what about businesses like ours. Who will compensate us for our losses? We, meat shop owners are planning to appeal to the government asking them to compensate us for our losses.”
Officials, however, said that the sale of meat and alcohol would be banned within a radius of 500 m from the ghats. “We have to respect all religious beliefs. So the chief minister has appealed to meat outlets and restaurants to voluntarily stop the sale of meat across the city,” said joint collector Gandham Chandrudu to Times of India.
Meanwhile, star hotels informed VMC officials that they need not adhere to their directives. "A few star hotel managements and restaurants have informed us that there are provisions which allow them to serve non-vegetarian dishes on all days. So we will hold a meeting with the stakeholders and take a final decision in a day or two," a senior official from VMC told Times of India.