Panaji: In its bid to quell the beef shortage in Goa, the BJP-led government in the state may start selling beef on its own, an official said on Thursday, while blaming the mafia with links to meat traders for the shortage.
Addressing a press conference here, Lyndon Monteiro, chairman of the Goa Meat Complex, a government agency which runs the only legal service abattoir in Goa, said the shortage of beef was artificial and blamed the mafia and animal rights groups for the problem.
"A crisis kind of situation has arisen. If the traders do not fall in line and open their shops to sell beef, the government will take it upon itself to sell beef across the state," he said.
Monteiro said the government was in the process of "finalising modalities" for selling beef in Goa on its own, in order to come to the assistance of the beef-eating population, which has been affected with many stores shutting shop since Monday.
The shortage also comes at the time of Lent, a holy period when Christians, who account for 26 percent of Goa`s population, tend to avoid the red meat.
Beef is commonly consumed in the state`s more cosmopolitan tourism-oriented coastal belt. Official estimates suggest that the beef consumption in the state ranges from 30 to 50 tonnes per day.
Monteiro said the state-run service abattoir was functional and blamed a cartel of illegal beef-selling mafia and rogue meat traders for the beef crisis in the state.
Over the years, the abattoir as the only legal slaughtering facility in the state has been slaughtering cattle brought to them by traders, who subsequently sell the fresh beef across the state.
The abattoir has a capacity to slaughter 120 cattle per shift.
"There is no problem if you legally source cattle for slaughter or slaughtered carcasses from outside the state. The problem is that the beef mafia has been trying to get illegal and uncertified beef to Goa, which has resulted in crackdown," Monteiro said.
He said animal rights activists were also holding the beef supply to Goa to ransom by raising repeated objections and alleging that all beef being brought to Goa was illegal.