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Is Leftover Meat Meant for Kolkata Zoo Animals Supplied to Cheap Eateries?

Officials suspect that a contractual worker with the Zoological Gardens in Alipore, Ramprit Das, may have been supplying left-over meat to the food joints in the city.

Sujit Nath |

Updated:May 7, 2018, 7:12 PM IST
Kolkata: Amid the carcass meat scare in Kolkata, the Enforcement Branch (EB) and Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) are probing whether left-over meat meant for animals at the Kolkata Zoo is illegally being supplied to eateries in the city and its adjacent areas.

The EB officers suspect that a contractual worker with the Zoological Gardens in Alipore, Ramprit Das, may have been supplying left-over meat to the food joints in the city.

“We suspect that he might have been supplying left-over meat meant for animals to his clients in the city’s food business. Probe is on in this matter,” a senior EB official said.

Speaking to News18, Atin Ghosh, member Mayor-in-Council (MMIC), Health, said, “The agent was contract bound to collect left-over meat from Kolkata zoo on a daily basis. That meat was supposed to be given to fish farming units and the rotten stuff had to be dumped at the 'Dhapa' (garbage yard). We want to confirm whether he was involved in any illegal activities since there is a strong suspicion.”

“I went to the Zoo and met Ashish Kumar Samanta, director of Alipore Zoological Gardens. I inquired about Ramprit and our officers went to his home but he wasn’t there. We are also collecting meat and other food samples supplied to various state-run homes, hospitals and schools (mid-day meal). Our food inspectors are conducting raids across the city.”

Inquiry revealed that Ramprit left Kolkata for Jharkhand. His son Rahul told the officials that his father is visiting relatives for a wedding ceremony. EB and KMC officials, however, suspect that he may have fled Kolkata fearing arrest.

Meanwhile, the Bengal government is now planning to install CCTV cameras at all the major dumping grounds in the state. Already CCTV cameras were installed at Rajpur-Sonarpur dumping yard and civil police volunteers were engaged to keep an eye on these dumping yards.

Recently, researchers at a government laboratory in Kolkata found substantial quantities of harmful toxins in the tonnes of carcass/frozen meat that were seized by authorities from Hooghly, Howrah, Kolkata, North and South 24 Parganas districts of Bengal and sent to the lab for testing.

Authorities informed the state health department that the samples contain a ‘dangerous toxin’ which, if consumed, could lead to severe spinal and brain-related diseases.

The scientists at the laboratory also found traces of ammonia, chlorine and harmful bacteria (Clostridium Botulinum, Listeria monocytogenes and E. Coli) in some of the meat samples.

Several hotels and restaurant in areas adjacent to Kolkata were sealed by the municipal authorities after ‘poor quality’ raw meat and fishes were found in their chest freezers.

In the last few days, several people were arrested for selling carcass meat collected from the dump-yards at Budge Budge, Sonarpur and Kalyani areas. The racketeers suppled this meat to several small food joints in and around Kolkata. More than 25 tonnes of rotten and carcass meat were seized from various illegal cold storages in and around Kolkata.
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