Carcasses of cattle killed during Cyclone Yaas could be sold to hotels and restaurants for their meat, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee warned on Monday as she directed top police officers to step up checking and raid places where they could be stored.
“There are people who sell the meat of dead animals to hotels and restaurants. Later these are sold to customers. Earlier, we had busted one such racket,” Banerjee said.
In April 2018, police busted a racket near Kolkata for selling cattle carcasses from dumping grounds. It later emerged that carcass meat, after being processed with chemicals such as formaldehyde and frozen to a temperature of -44°C, was sold to traders in Bengal, Bihar, Odisha, and Assam.
Banerjee said the carcasses were being stored in some specific areas only to be sold later to restaurants and hotels. “Check the places and find out whether they are being stored and sold. Seize them and take immediate action. Cremate the carcasses,” Banerjee said while reviewing the damage caused by the cyclone.
Officials said a few thousand cattle and poultry birds died due to the cyclone. Even though the cyclone made landfall in Odisha, the storm surge it had triggered flooded multiple villages in West Bengal.
“At least 63 village panchayats in 14 blocks in three districts are still inundated. Dead cattle are still lying here and there and this also raised the apprehension of diseases,” said an official.
State minister Subrata Mukherjee, who was present at the meeting, said dead fish were also likely to be sold to the restaurants. Saline water from the rivers gushed into the villages and filled up the ponds killing all sweet water fish.