As announced earlier, Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Monday moved “The Assam Cattle Preservation Bill-2021” in the state assembly to regulate the slaughter, consumption and transportation of cattle.
Sarma, who also holds the Home and Political Affairs Departments, while introducing the bill on the opening day of the budget session of the Assam assembly, said that the proposed legislation would also prevent smuggling and illegal trade of cattle.
The much expected bill said that in the light of the experience over the years and in view of the shortcomings which have been observed, it is considered that there is an imperative need to enact a legislation to include sufficient legal provisions to regulate the slaughter, consumption and transportation of cattle by repealing “The Assam Cattle Preservation Act, 1950”.
About the proposed Bill, Governor Jagdish Mukhi in his customary speech in the first session of the new Assembly on May 22 had said that the state government would adopt a zero-tolerance policy and enforce stringent punishment for offenders. “Once the cow protection Bill is passed in the Assembly, Assam would join few other states in the country which have passed similar legislations. Cows nurture people as the animal gives them life-sustaining and nutritious milk,” Mukhi had said.
Violation of provisions of the new law entails imprisonment of up to eight years and a fine up to Rs 5 lakh.
While most of the northeastern states have not reacted yet to Assam’s cow protection law, Meghalaya chief minister Conrad K. Sangma last week had said that the state government would take up the matter with the Centre if Assam’s new law affects supply of beef to the state.
Smuggling of cows and other cattle to Bangladesh is rampant along five Indian states of West Bengal (2,216 kms), Tripura (856 kms), Meghalaya (443 kms), Mizoram (318 kms) and Assam (263 km) — that share a 4,096-km border with the neighbouring country.
Of the 4,096-km border, 1,116 kms are of riverine frontiers and a large portion is unfenced and tough terrain making it advantageous for smugglers and illegal traders to continue unlawful trades and smuggling of various goods and animals.
The budget session of the Assam assembly began on Monday at Dispur with the opposition members belonging to Congress and All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) staging a walk out as Speaker Biswajit Daimary did not allow their adjournment motion on price rise issue.
Meanwhile, chief minister Sarma said that the BJP government is always ready to hold peace talks with all militant outfits within the framework of the constitution.
(The story has been published via a syndicated feed with a modified headline.)
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