Maharashtra beef ban: Govt agencies, cops, civic bodies to join hands
The Bharatiya Janata party-led (BJP) state government may have succeeded in saving the bulls and bullocks from the butcher’s knife, but many are wondering how the ban, which came into force almost two decades after the BJP-Shiv Sena government passed the Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Bill, 1995, will be implemented.
The Bharatiya Janata Party-led (BJP) state government may have succeeded in saving the bulls and bullocks from the butcher’s knife, but many are wondering how the ban, which came into force almost two decades after the BJP-Shiv Sena government passed the Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Bill, 1995, will be implemented.
The state government claims it is ready with its action plan — from special squads, to keeping vigil on illegal slaughter houses, to allowing officials from civic bodies and the food and drug administration (FDA) to crack down on restaurants and meat shops.
The government had issued a notification on March 4, immediately after President Pranab Mukherjee cleared the way for the Act to be passed.
It has now sent out directives to the departments concerned to stop issuing certificates for slaughter and transport of banned animals.
Despite the brickbats, the state government is not backing down from its decision. To ensure proper implementation of the notification, the animal husbandry officials have been told to stop issuing certificates to slaughter houses for killing bulls and bullocks, and assistant commissioners of the department will keep a check on their transportation.
“While the police and local authorities are responsible for enforcing the provisions of the Act, officials from our department will also have to work to make it effective. Activists and NGOs are very alert and any violation is brought to the notice of the authorities immediately,” said Mahesh Pathak, secretary, animal husbandry department.
At Kumbhar, animal husbandry commissioner, said they had deputed 16 squads at check nakas to prevent illegal transport of animals. However, taking cows, bulls and bullocks for dairy and agricultural purposes will be allowed, but only after it has been certified by the officials at the local level.
According to another official from the department, the government is unlikely to initiate suo motu action by appointing squads. “However, strict action will be taken after receiving complaints from NGOs and activists,” he said.
Civic bodies and the FDA, too, have been directed to join hands. “If any shop or restaurant is found to be storing beef, the local bodies and the police can take action, as the licences are issued by them. If the meat needs to be tested, the authorities may take the assistance of the laboratories at veterinary colleges,” said Kumbhar.
While the government seems to be confident that it can stop illegal slaughter, animal activists are not very convinced. “There have been cases where cows have been illegally slaughtered in the city. To ensure that the ban is followed strictly, the authorities need to be more vigilant,” said Satish Sinnarkar, vice-president of Keshav Shrushti Goshala.