Bengaluru: Once-busy beef markets turn quiet after new law | Bengaluru News – Times of India

BENGALURU: The usually bustling beef market in Shivajinagar was almost deserted on Tuesday, a day after a law against the slaughter of all cattle, except buffaloes aged over 13, came into force. People engaged in the business shared anxieties about their livelihood, wondering how they would cope.
The number of shops at the oldest and biggest beef market in Bengaluru has come down from 56 to 18 in the past three months. The surviving sellers, including families which have been part of the trade for generations, are grappling with shrinking business and the near-blanket ban on beef has compounded their problems.
“I don’t know any other business other than selling beef. The new law is a hammer blow to our livelihood,” said 55-year-old BM Noorullah, who lost the index and middle fingers on his left hand while working.
The beef market came up 89 years ago, but its history stretches back to more than 200 years. A group of traders used to sell meat in the open and as the demand for beef grew and the number of sellers increased, the British proposed to construct an exclusive place near the Russel Market complex. The Shivajinagar Beef Market was inaugurated in the summer of 1932.
The once-thriving trade at the market has dropped significantly — about 80 per cent — after the government tabled the anti-cow slaughter bill in the assembly. “Things were picking up after the Covid-19 lockdown, but the ban has left us in a difficult situation again. The supply is sparse and there are not many takers for buffalo meat,” said Abid Ahmed, the owner of shop number 1.
Not too long ago, at least four people used to work at each stall, fulfilling bulk orders placed by restaurants and top hotels.
Apart from falling sales, traders are also worried about cow vigilantism. “These days, we carry the BBMP certificate issued by the veterinarian when we transport meat from the wholesale market on Tannery Road to shops across the city. When there is almost a blanket ban on beef, poor traders like us are vulnerable targets even if we transport only buffalo meat,” said Zubair, a transporter.
Sellers at Johnson Market are also wringing their hands. Only five out of 13 meat stalls are operating. “The beef ban has decreased our business by 90 per cent. Non-vegetarians in Bengaluru generally don’t consume buffalo meat; many relish ox meat, whose supply has stopped in the past few months. There is no point in continuing this trade,” said Shah Nawaz, who runs a shop here.
The new law has hit more than 2,000 workers in Shivajinagar. After the new law was proposed, illegal beef trade has gone up in some parts of the city, according to traders.

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Sagar Biswas

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