The future of Leh slaughter houses appears uncertain as some rules and regulations laid down for a disciplined functioning of the abattoirs are not being followed in Leh. Slaughterhouse and butcher continue to thrive in the city ignoring public health safeguards.
The slaughter sheds operate in unhygienic conditions. The animal wastes are simply left to rot by the roadside.
The Skit- tsal-ling at the end of the Stok thang come under Chuchot constituency in which around 45-50 families lives, whose living condition is not worth thinking about. These people are living around a pack of dogs, stinking condition and a filthy area.
The biggest issue faced by the people is that the slaughter area is open here. After many complaints and request to shift the slaughter somewhere else people are still struggling with the grievances.
A notice was issued by Nodal officer, State Pollution Control Board/ Divisional Forest officer, Leh division under environmental laws-regulation to Butcher Association on 30th November 2012 as they were not following the norms or terms given by the Board and was polluting water and air. The letter highlighted that slaughter houses are disposing of waste in most unscientific manner.
When interacting with the people residing out there, it was found that people are in deep distressed tired of taking up their issue and has given up with no hope and accepted their living.
Dawa Dolma a resident said, “We close our doors and windows every time because the odour of the waste is very bad and is difficult to breathe.”
The open slaughter area has become a breeding ground for the dogs which attacks people and livestock. People report about increasing number of dog bite cases. After sunset, people prefer staying in the home or walk with a company because of dog threat.
A resident of the area Tsering said, “Our children are attacked by the dogs, it’s very difficult for us to move out from the house after 7 pm.”
President of the area Skarma Dorjay said, “There are few homes just near the slaughter area and it is very difficult for us to live here. Dogs have created havoc in our life; we can’t even rear cattle’s and many have given up. Nobody comes and hears our problems.”
Stok Sarpanch said, “The slaughter area is on the side of the main road to Stok which looks very unpleasant. The area has become a breeding ground for dogs which is the biggest threat to the people passing around. Nobody walks alone to the village because the dog attacks many times.”
Talking about this issue to the Councillor Chuchot constituency, Mumtaz Hussain, he said, “This issue is coming into his knowledge for the first time and he assured to call a meeting with the butchers soon on this.”
Jamyang Tsering Namgyal, Councilor Martselang submitted a letter to Deputy Commissioner on 23rd, May 2016 to shift the open slaughter area from the Stok thang keeping in view of the safety and environment of the area.
J&K State Pollution Control Board, annexure 5.1 provides a draft guideline for sanitation in the slaughter house. The objective is to maintain good hygiene and sanitation in the slaughter house and to minimize environmental problems. It covers basic amenities in the slaughter house, operations including humane slaughtering, implant control measures, by-product recovery and waste management systems.
The guideline states, standards for discharge of effluents from the slaughter houses have been laid down and notified under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
In basic amenities, the floor of slaughter hall and dressing area of slaughterhouse must be impervious, of good quality marbled slab/cement tiles or good quality cement concreting with proper gradient for draining waste waters. Walls up to 1.5 to 2 metres from the floor should be surfaced. To avoid odours suitable type of ventilation system like air conditioning, air circulation, exhaust fans etc. should be provided.
Surprisingly all this basic amenity is missing in our slaughter area. The slaughter house at bomb guard is away from the residential area but the condition of the slaughter house is sickening. The place is unhygienic, a pool of blood dried up, the floor drenched with blood, undisposed solid waste. But in the guidelines, it states that the main service such as potable water, electricity and proper hygienic waste disposal facilities are a prerequisite and should be taken care of.
Dr. Ghulam Mohd. physician said, “Unhygienic or bad sanitation will definitely cause diseases. Humans can get infected with an animal disease call Brucellosis which is caused by the bacteria called Brucella. Contact with animal waste, tissues, placenta etc can cause this disease. It is an animal disease which not only gets from slaughter house but is also prone. For e.g. children playing near the slaughter house might get contact with such substance and eats food without washing hands. This can get in contact with the human through air, dust, or not washing hands etc. this disease are more prone to the people who are dealing with the animals.”
He further added that from slaughter houses, the odour from the rotten up things causes air pollution. The putrefying area or substance emits ammonia gases which are a toxin and is harmful. This will eventually breed lots of flies and bacteria which will easily get in the houses and spread infection.
The slaughter house should be built in a proper way and no blood, excreta or waste should be open, it should be unexposed. Proper waste disposal is very important, said Dr. Ghulam.
Municipal Committee Leh have taken up the issue of the open slaughter house and submitted a letter to the Director, Urban local bodies, Kashmir in the year 2011 for the requirement of a proper slaughterhouse. A proposal based on the design procured from Executive Engineer Urban Local Bodies, Kashmir to the tune of ₹ 43 Lakh was also submitted.
Till now the operation was carried by the butchers in an open area, the point is the need of proper slaughterhouse in Leh. Serious concern or the role of the council and the administration is of prime importance keeping the environment, health and safety of the people in mind.