The subject of beef and the effect on the meat’s availability and price due to legislation recently passed by Assam was again on the menu of discussion in the Meghalaya Assembly today.
Importing cows for meat has become more complicated recently because of neighbouring Assam’s Cattle Preservation Act 2021, which has not only restricted the slaughter of cattle in Assam but also affected the transport of cattle for meat through the state and on to Meghalaya.
North Shillong MLA Adelbert Nongrum today sought to know what incentives the government is providing for rearing cows. Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Minister Sanbor Shullai had two days ago said that the government aims to make Meghalaya self-sufficient in beef production.
In response, Shullai said that the government has sent a letter to Assam on the matter, pointing out that local bovine traders are now unable to procure milch cows and other bovine animals for legitimate business purpose due to Section 7 (1) sub-section 1 and 2, of the Assam Cattle Prevention Act 2021.
Under this section no person shall transport or offer to transport or cause to be transported any cattle without a valid permit. These permits will be available subject to payment of fees to be prescribed by the Assam government.
Shullai informed that the Meghalaya government is waiting for a reply to the letter. If no reply is forthcoming, the department “will plan a further course of action,” he added.
Mawsynram MLA Himalaya Shangpliang, meanwhile, rued the fact that though Assam’s law may have played a part in increasing beef prices in Meghalaya, another factor is rampant smuggling of cows into Bangladesh.
A cow that costs Rs 20,000 in Meghalaya could sell for five times that much over the international border during Eid, he stated.