The committee in its report also red-flagged illegal slaughtering in the market and “gravely alarming” sanitation conditions. An inspection was carried out by the committee members on November 4 and its recommendations have been submitted to the urban development secretary for further action.
The recommendations assume greater importance now as several bird flu cases have been found recently in multiple states and the Ghazipur market is the main trading hub for poultry in Delhi.
The report recommends prohibition of illegal slaughtering within the market premises and action by Delhi Pollution Control Committee, Delhi Police and Food Safety and Standards Authority of India against violators causing a serious health risk to consumers. Similar violations were also flagged by the committee in August 2019, but little seems to have changed since then.
The five-member committee consisted of the veterinary department director of north corporation, director animal husbandry department, animal rights activist Gauri Maulekhi, FSSAI member and director of South Delhi Municipal Corporation veterinary department Dr Ravindra Sharma, who is the convener.
During the inspection, the committee found that there was no system in place for checking the health of the lakhs of birds arriving at the market and no veterinarian was found on duty. Also, no sanitation worker was present in the market. Carcasses of birds were found lying on the ground in polythene bags and wrapped in muddy clothes in an unhygienic manner.
“Heaps of dead birds could be seen in front of most shops where workers were dismembering the carcasses without following any hygiene norms. Slaughtering was being carried out next to drains, while offal and blood was being discharged untreated into sewage drains,” the report noted.
It was also observed that the birds being slaughtered did not appear to be healthy. “In the absence of any health check, it cannot be denied that the birds could be suffering from diseases. Most birds stacked in cages seemed to have broken limbs or wings with wounds that could be infected,” stated the report.
A panel member said no postmortem was done on the carcasses and they were not screened for removal of infected parts.
The experts also laid emphasis on rampant violations of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act in the market, both at the time of transportation and slaughtering. While the shops had only licences for sale of birds, they were also slaughtering them. Currently, 84 shops have been given the licence to sell poultry.
The report also noted that illegal boring for water had been done at several places and Central Ground Water Authority should initiate action against this violation.
The Ghazipur murga mandi is the biggest poultry wholesale trading hub in the city established under Delhi Agricultural Produce Marketing Act.