The National Green Tribunal has asked the Union Government its response on the issue of illegal slaughter houses in Uttar Pradesh. A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar impleaded Ministry of Environment and Forests in the case and issued notices to Uttar Pradesh government, Department of Environment, UP Pollution Control Board, Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) and others while seeking their replies by February 4.

The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by environmental activist Shailesh Singh who has brought forward the issue of illegal abattoirs in Aligarh, Bulandshahr, Sambhal and Ghaziabad districts of Uttar Pradesh. According to his petition, these were ere discharging untreated effluents contaminated with animal waste and blood of slaughtered animals in open drains which go into the tributaries of Ganga and Yamuna, polluting them.

“As per official records, more than 8.5 lakhs cattle are slaughtered annually in Uttar Pradesh from its 115 registered abattoirs. However, a bare perusal of the records of total export made by the State shows that it is several times higher than the amount mentioned in the records and data maintained by UP,” Singh said in his petition.

The plea also highlights the issue of illegal extraction of ground water by slaughter houses without the requisite permission from the competent authorities and raises the issue of air pollution caused by the release of toxic fumes emitted from furnaces to extract animal bone fat.

“It is pertinent to state that slaughter houses require huge quantity of water for their operation and the districts of Bulandshahr, Ghaziabad and Sambhal fall within over- exploited zones …

“Furthermore these areas are all ‘notified areas’ in terms of guidelines issued by CGWA and according to which extraction of ground water in such areas is prohibited for any other purpose (including commercial) except for drinking,” the plea said.