A heinous business

Unbeknown to the State’s health and police authorities, a well-organized and thriving business of using the flesh of dead animals as cooked meat in hotels and restaurants had been going on in Kolkata and the surrounding areas. A whole network of people was engaged in cutting, sizing and packing the flesh of carcasses thrown in bhagars or dumping grounds, treating it with chemicals and supplying it to eateries big and small, ordinary and cheap to respectable and costly. Some of the samples seized by the police were found to be stinking. But this stuff was stored in fridges and cooked and served to unsuspecting customers. Those engaged in this repulsive ‘business’ had their informants in every dumping ground to alert them whenever carcasses arrived. Even dog meat is suspected to have been used. Dead chicken, reeking of foul smell, dipped in formalin, has been served as food without any qualm of conscience. It is the profit which matters, how it is made does not.
The KMC Mayor-in-Council, Health, has admitted that the civic body has no laboratory to test flesh to determine meat of which animal was being used. He had to search and find laboratories where such tests could be done. Civic bodies of small towns are far less equipped to do such testing. The police have arrested some people, are trying to find out many more that are behind-the-scene operators and are expected to put them up for trial. Common people do not know what the penal provisions for such crimes .are and how diligently the police will pursue these cases for obtaining conviction.
Previously it had been reported that fish are treated with harmful colour to make them appear as fresh, stale vegetables are treated with chemicals for retaining their greenness, fruits are similarly treated to ripen them prematurely. Over and above this, cereals like rice and wheat plants are treated with harmful pesticides. These are absorbed by the plants and ultimately taken by unsuspecting people in their daily diet. Even if one knows that the rice or roti one is eating contains pesticides, some of which may even be carcinogenic, one is helpless. But passing off flesh of dead animals as cooked meat is, or rather was, unthinkable till the other day. Now that it has been detected, the people expect the authorities concerned not only to punish the guilty but to put in place a checking system which will stamp out this repulsive business once for all.

Friday, 4 May, 2018