Guwahati faces drop in sale of meat; Nagas are cautious but still remain 'foody'
Guwahati/Dimapur: Cautious about COVID 19, most markets in busy townships such as Guwahati and Dimapur in northeastern states of Assam and Nagaland respectively are witnessing gloomy business scenes.
In Guwahati- the gateway to all seven northeastern states, there is significant drop in sales of meat and fish. Inhabited by large number of fish eating communities Bengalis and Assamese ans belonging to all religions groups - the Hindus, the Muslims and Christians -- fish sale used to be abundant in Guwahati. But as the fear has increased in last few days, prices of chicken, mutton and fish and also other poultry items have dropped in Guwahati.
According to local residents, the sale has dropped also because a video of a market in Assam's Baksa district showing sale of dead rats went viral on social media recently.
There is significant drop in sales of sea fishes of course in Guwahati and other places in the north east. In terms of quantity, the drop in sale of mutton - more than a delicacy among Bengalis, Assamese, Gorkhas or Nepalis and other tribal groups has been sharp in last few days. From sale of about 100 kgs of mutton per day, the quantity being sold now is hardly 20 kg per day, say those running retail outlets in Guwahati.
However, local residents in Nagaland's commercial hub Dimapur say there is hardly any drop of sale for pork - which is the staple food of the Nagas. "People talk about all precautions but when it comes to meat eating or not eating, Nagas remain foody," says meat seller Abdul Qarim in Dimapur's well known New Market. But he says, "I don't deal with pork myself. My other relatives do, they also say while there is drop in sale of mutton and poultry farm chicken, pork do still get sold out among Nagas and others".
According to Meena Thapa, a housewife in Chumukedima in Nagaland, "people are cautious about meat eating after coronavirus breakout but pork consumption is like part of normal personal and social life in Nagaland". However, she says the overall business in Chumukedima and in Dimapur would be adversely affected once the NDPP-BJP government pushes for strict enforcement of Inner Line Permit regulations.
"What we feel is that the local Nagas tell us we should get ILPs. This is like accepting a law which is unconstitutional and which would make Non Nagas second class citizens in Dimapur where we were born and made sacrifices for the city," she adds.
Meanwhile, in various places concerns are being raised on how civil administration and health officials are ready to brave through the challenges of COVID-19. The concern is growing in Assam for all obvious reasons as the state shares border with Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal. Assam Health Minister Pijush Hazarika has announced that a total of 48 beds in isolation wards in six hospitals across the state have been kept ready to deal with any case of coronavirus.
The coronavirus outbreak which had begun in Wuhan regional of China has spread worlwide and was declared a pandemic on March 11, 2020.