The Assam Assembly on Thursday passed the Assam Cattle Preservation (Amendment) Bill, 2021 to curb smuggling and illegal trade of cattle to Bangladesh.
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma assured the members that there would be no curb on cattle rearing for farming purposes, adding that the government is trying to restrict transportation of catle to the districts along Bangladesh border to stop cross-border smuggling.
“We are trying to put an end to indiscriminate cow slaughter in the state,” said Sarma.
The Chief Minister said that those involved in illegal cattle trade and smuggling would be punished.
“The government is also trying to increase milk production in the state,” Sarma added.
The Assam Cattle Preservation (Amendment) Bill, 2021 was tabled on the opening day of the ongoing Winter Session of the Assembly by Industry and Commerce Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary, seeking to amend the Assam Cattle Preservation Act, 2021 to allow inter-district transportation of cattle for agricultural and animal husbandry purposes, except in eight districts bordering Bangladesh and Bhutan.
The BJP government had enacted the law to preserve and prevent illegal trade of cattle by passing the original Bill on August 31, triggering a controversy in the state.
The Act seeks to “ensure strict implementation of the penal provisions of the Act”, streamline the investigation procedure and it has the provision that with the permission of the court, auction would be conducted for the seized vehicles, boats, vessels etc. which are found to be carrying the cattle.
Any breach of the provisions of the new law entails imprisonment of up to eight years and a fine of up to Rs 5 lakh.
At the tine, the leaders of the opposition Congress, the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) and the CPI-M had separately said that the BJP government brought the cattle law without any discussion with the opposition parties.
They also said that the ruling party brought the law without studying the issue properly.
Smuggling of cows and other cattle to Bangladesh is rampant in the five states of West Bengal, Tripura, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Assam, which share 4,096 km borders with the neighbouring country. Large portions of the borders are unvenced and riverine.
(The story has been published via a syndicated feed with a modified headline.)