From A Correspondent
SHILLONG, June 12: The one-day special Meghalaya Assembly session on Monday called to discuss the Centre’s new cattle trade and slaughter rules ended with a resolution being passed against it.
Chief Minister, Dr Mukul Sangma moved the resolution against the manner in which the Centre has gone ahead floating the new rule on May 23.
Initiating a debate on the Resolution, Dr Sangma said that the notification on the new Rules is an assault on the federal structure of the country.
“The Rules are designed to affect the north eastern states knowing well the culture of the people of the region. It is a dangerous precedence as far as the federal structure of the country is concerned,” the Chief Minister said.
Dr Sangma said if the Rules are implemented there will be dangerous ramifications on the poor farmers of the country.
He also said that Rule 8 of these rules prohibits organising of animal market in a place which is situated within 25 kms from any state border or which is situated within 50 kms from any intertiol border, while the state shares a 443 kms long intertiol border with Bangladesh and length of about 800 kms of inter state border with the state of Assam.
The Chief Minister said that this will result in large scale disruption of economy including livelihoods in the border areas, since Rule 2 (e) specifically defines the “cattle” to include bovine animals, bulls, bullocks, cows, buffalos, steers, heifers, calves and camels.
He also pointed out that Rule 22 of these rules places restrictions on sale and purchase of cattle and specifically prohibits bringing of a cattle to animal market for sale for slaughter and further mandates that the purchaser of a cattle shall not sell the animal for purpose of slaughter, which is a major embargo crippling the economy of a predomintly tribal society with more than 85 percent indigenous population.
“Cattle meat is an integral part of the dietary habits of the tribal populace of the State of Meghalaya, since it is rich in minerals and is one of the cheap source of protein, especially for the economically weaker section of the tribal society,” Dr Sangma said.
The Chief Minister also said that the demand for beef across the state is to the tune of 23634 Metric Tonnes (figures for the year 2015-16) while the beef production within the State is only 12834 Metric Tonnes and the rest is imported to the tune of 10800 Metric Tonnes.
He said that to balance the demand and supply of beef the state government has put in place “Meghalaya State Livestock Mission for 2017 -2022” to augment the livestock production, to meet the increasing demand across the State of Meghalaya and the present rules impact the growing livestock economy adversely.
Taking part in the discussion opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) legislator, Paul Lyngdoh said that Europe and the United States was once swept by Mad Cow disease and presently in the country a similar situation prevails wherein a form of “Mad Cow” disease is affecting the Human Beings.
“Where is the sense of priority if we have to implement Rules like these. It is absurd to implement such Rules when the state have much more serious problems,” Lyngdoh said.
He further stated that going back to the history, had it not been of the few visiories like Dr BR Ambedkar who had fought at that point of time that the issue of ban on slaughter should not be deem as a fundamental right but rather should be included as one of the Directive Principles of the State Policy.
Taking part in the debate on the official resolution, HSPDP legislator Ardent Miller Basaiawmoit said that the rules notified by the Centre is virtually moved to ban cow slaughter in the country.
He however questioned what will next course of action on the part of the State Government if the Centre failed to take cognizance to this official resolution adopted by this House like they had done in the past.
“We already know that there is already a stoppage of cattle being brought to Meghalaya. This has cost the economy of the State dearly. Therefore, I want a categorical statement from the State Government on the steps it would take if the Centre refuses to withdraw this notification,” the HSPDP legislator stated.