The fear of being served with meat of dogs/cats has reportedly reduced the sale of non-vegetarian food by almost half in Kolkata and surrounding areas.
The significant dip led to Hotel and Restaurants' Association of Eastern India (HRAEI) issuing a directive asking all its members to purchase meat only from registered outlets.
Interestingly, people shifted to prawns/fish and even vegetarian food over the weekend.
HRAEI members feel customers reacting on rumors
The members of HRAEI said customers were reacting to rumors about dogs and cats' meat, being served instead of chicken and mutton. They asserted that the reports were not true.
HRAEI president Sudesh Poddar said, "Frozen meat is now suspect and we have requested all restaurants not to use them. But the drop in the sale of non-vegetarian food is a worry."
"Strict action will be taken against eateries cheating customers"
"The city has a huge number of eateries. It is easy to sell poor-quality meat to them as many of them can be lured into buying cheap. We shall take strict action if any eatery is caught buying carcass meat," said Poddar.
The fear is strong
Restaurant owners are worried (Naturally!)
A restaurant owner told TOI his patrons refused non-vegetarian food like pork and mutton last weekend.
"On any normal day, we would procure 25-30 kg of meat. But, after the carcass rumor, the procurement has dropped to just 8 kg a day. It is a big setback," said another.
Another restaurateur, however, claimed their sales haven't dipped as their customers know their quality.
Of cats and dogs
Not all are rumors after all; Kolkata Police seize meat
Restaurant owners may refute rumors of selling only meat of chicken and pig, but Kolkata police have seized 20 tones of carcass meat from an ice factory in Rajabazar.
Reportedly, the seized meat is of stray dogs and cats. The meat was well-packed and ready to be shipped to restaurants across Kolkata.
The police have also arrested six people in connection with the case.