Modi shuts meat shops in India but makes money out of it abroad: Owaisi

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 All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief, Asaduddin Owaisi, has taken a dig at the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, saying that while meat shops are being shut down in India for religious sentiments, Modi has no problem making money off of gosht (meat).

Asaduddin Owaisi was reacting to the reports that the Indian government has urged the Bangladesh government to resume the import of meat from India.

In a tweet he said, Bangladesh media reported that the Indian High Commission in Dhaka requested to resume meat imports, including beef/buff. “Sanghis routinely attack Muslim cattle traders, state govts ban beef/buff & shut down slaughterhouses here but govt want to help big traders make money. Meat shops are shut down for “religious sentiments” but Modi has no problem making money off of gosht,” he said.

Earlier, Financial Express reported that India has urged the Bangladesh government to resume the import of meat from the neighbouring country as the traders concerned in both countries are being hit hard by the non-shipment of such items. Quoting officials, the report said that the Indian embassy in Dhaka has recently sent a letter to the Bangladeshi Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock with a request to resolve the issue.

The Bangladesh government has stopped the import of frozen meat, especially buffalo meat, from India with a view to protecting local cattle farmers and helping the domestic livestock sector flourish, Financial Express reported quoting an insider.

According to the Import Policy-2021-24 Notification that was issued in April 2022 by the Bangladeshi commerce ministry, prior approval has to be taken from the Department of Livestock for import of meat including frozen buffalo (bovine) meat, says the letter. Both Indian exporter and Bangladeshi importer associations have raised concern over the issue in the past couple of months, reads the letter.

They also have highlighted that due to change in the import policy, no import of frozen bovine meat has taken place in the past few months affecting their businesses.

All Indian Buffalo and Sheep Meat Exporters Association (AIMLEA) and Bangladesh Meat Importers and Traders Association (BMITA) have requested the Bangladesh government authorities concerned to consider resolving the issue.

The letter highlighted that the Bangladesh national budget for the fiscal year 2021-22 imposed 20 per cent supplementary duty along with an increase in the assessment value from US$ 4.0/kg to US$ 5.0/kg that was introduced for frozen boneless bovine meat imports from India. The issue nullifies the SAFTA (South Asian Free Trade Area) benefit available to Indian exporters, it said.

Bangladesh is now self-sufficient in meat production, the report quoted a source saying, but spent nearly US$ 2.5 million in the fiscal year 2017-18 to import the item from 14 countries. Some luxury hotels and food chains import the meat, the source added.

The country produced over 8.44 million tonnes of meat in the FY 2020-21 against an annual demand of nearly 7.4 million tonnes, according to the Department of Livestock Services (DLS).

As per a Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) concept paper, meat import has increased by about four times in five years – from US$ 0.72 million in FY 2013-14 to nearly US$ 2.5 million in FY 2017-18.

Bangladesh imported meat from 14 countries, with India being the largest source, Financial Express reported. The other countries are Ethiopia, France, Korea, Thailand, China, United Arab Emirates (UAE), US, Pakistan, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.

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