Assam cattle law: Meghalaya fears choking of supply, economy

Express News Service
GUWAHATI: The Assam Cattle Preservation Bill, 2021 has stirred neighbouring Meghalaya.

Meghalaya Chief Minister, Conrad K Sangma said the state government would approach the Centre if the Assam Bill affects the people and the economy of his state.

The beef business helps thousands of people eke out a living in Meghalaya. Cattle, procured from states such as West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Telangana, are transported to Meghalaya through Assam.

Meghalaya fears that the Assam cattle law will choke supply to the Christian-majority state.

Sangma said his government would raise the issue with the Assam government as well as the Centre if transit is affected.

“We will take all steps needed to make sure supply is not affected by the Assam law,” he said.

GHP Raju, who is the Principal Secretary of Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Department of Meghalaya, said the department has already noticed a shortage of beef in the market.

Two days ago, the Assam cabinet approved the Assam Cattle Preservation Bill, 2021. It will be tabled at the upcoming session of the state Assembly.

The new Bill will replace the Assam Cattle Preservation Act, 1950. It allows the slaughter of cattle, which are aged above 14 years, with approval from vets.

Through the enactment of the law, the Assam government is seeking to thwart cattle smuggling to Bangladesh.

Recently, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma spoke against the consumption of beef in areas where Hindus live and the animal is worshipped.

At his meeting with the officers-in-charge of all police stations in the state a few days ago, he had categorically stated that there should not be a single case pertaining to cows. His reference was to cattle smuggling which thrives particularly in the Dhubri district which shares its border with Bangladesh and West Bengal.