Eknath Khadse, animal husbandry and dairy development minister for the state, told HT on Wednesday that the government had always been determined to implement the Act.
There has been lot of opposition to the ban on the slaughter of cows, bulls, bullocks. What does the government have to say on it?
It has taken 19 long years to pass the amendment, and it comes with the assent of the President. Detailed debate, due deliberation has taken place before the bill was passed in both the houses in 1995. A committee was appointed in 2010 to study the fallout of the ban from various perspectives. The Central government and the President were convinced before the final nod was given. It was the demand of a large section of society and slaughter of cows and their progeny was an issue close to their hearts.
Maharashtra is not the first state to enact the law. It has been implemented in a few other states as well. Not only this, the Supreme Court has upheld the provisions, when challenged in some states.
Celebrities like Shobhaa De have opposed the move and warned they will protest.
In a democracy, citizens are free to protest the government’s decisions. De and other celebrities too are free to protest. Law-abiding people should respect the law which has been passed by the competent authorities.
A section of the society has alleged your government is taking the RSS agenda forward with such decisions.
Why only us, even the Rajasthan government had passed the bill to ban slaughter of bulls and bullocks when the state was ruled by the Congress.
The maintenance of the animals may prove expensive for the government. What are your plans?
We have plans for rehabilitations of the cows, bulls and bullocks that will be saved by the implementation of the Act. We have made a provision of Rs90 crore for the maintenance of unproductive cows in three regions. We are chalking out comprehensive plans by launching the Go Gram Scheme to take care of the cows and their progeny.
Thousands of people in related industries will lose their jobs. What do you say about that?
It is not true. We have banned the slaughter of cows and their progeny, but the slaughter of other permitted animals will continue. There will be shift of trade to other form of meat and the loss will be made up from them.