With just days to go for Christmas, Goans are worried about the supply of meat for feasts during the festive season.
The Archdiocese of Goa has written to Chief Minister Pramod Sawant seeking his intervention in the Karnataka government's proposal to ban the slaughter of not just cows, but also bulls and buffaloes in the state. It said the move would lead to a shortage for consumers in the coastal state.
Similarly, beef traders have also communicated via memorandum their concerns regarding the implementation of the law in Karnataka, stating that it would lead to losses of up to Rs 1 crore every day.
Manna Bapari, president of the Goa beef traders association said, "15-20 tonnes of beef comes from Karnataka every day. A lot of people depend on this for their livelihood. hoteliers, beef traders, cold storages etc will all have to close. Who will take responsibility for this? Can the animal husbandry minister take responsibility for this?"
The BJP government in Goa has been pushed into an awkward spot with Sawant now exploring various options to meet the deficit in supply as Christmas and New Year loom around the corner.
On Thursday, the CM had said that the state government is aware of the beef shortage and is taking steps to resolve the issue. "We are making all arrangements to make beef available in the state," he had said. A meeting had taken place with animal husbandry department officials to discuss ways to tide over the crisis, he had said.
The Karnataka government, on the other hand, ruled out reconsidering or withdrawing the legislation. The state's animal husbandry minister Prabhu Chavan said there will be no rethink on the anti-slaughter law, adding that he had consulted with states like Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, where similar laws are in place.
"I will ensure that no beef cross the borders if Karnataka once the law is notified. I have not received any communication from the Goa CM regarding the shortage of supply in the state either," Chavan said.
"The Goa CM is from our party. I don't know why he made such a statement. I have not got anything legally sent to my office either. He must have said it on TV, but officially I haven't received anything so I don't need to do anything about it.
"There is already a 1964 Act in place. After we bring in this new amendment and the bill gets passed in the House, we will make sure that not even 10kg beef leaves Karnataka," he said.
Meanwhile, traders are already feeling the keen sting of shortage, even though the proposed law has not been notified in Karnataka yet. Business has started dwindling amid worries about stringent fines and prison time.
"If we do not get meat from Karnataka, we will be forced to source it from states like Kerala. This will be very expensive to transport and we will have to pass the cost on to the consumers," Bapari said, requesting Sawant to intervene as businesses and tourism in the state stands to be affected by the move.
Echoing the traders' concerns, an arm of the Archdiocese, the Council for Social Justice and Peace, urged Sawant to urgently intervene. It noted that the matter would affect not only the livelihoods of meat traders, but also severely hit the hospitality and tourism sectors in Goa.