Shillong: With the passing of the recent Assam Cattle Preservation Bill 2021, legislators in Meghalaya Legislative Assembly have expressed concern because the state’s beef consumption is high.

During the question hour session, MLA Adelbert Nongrum asked what action will the state government take to ensure that the recent bill passed by the neighboring state will not impact the state.

Nongrum had asked Minister In charge of Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Sanbor Shullai, who replied that they have written to the Assam chief minister and the matter is under consideration.

“The reason I have raised this question today is because I have heard from many traders that the price of cattle has increased. So how can we be assured that beef prices will not rise?” asked the MLA.

Nongpoh MLA Mayralborn Syiem also joined in to raise the issue of how traders and consumers have been harassed even before the Bill was enacted.

“We know beef is one of the staple foods of the state. Suddenly with the Assam cattle bill, there will be serious ramifications for the consumers in the state, especially for cattle traders and suppliers,” said Syiem.

He added that even before this Bill was placed, many instances happened in the border areas under his constituency. He stated that many cattle traders have been harassed. “The irony is that Assam Police have come to arrest people from Meghalaya despite having proper documents,” said Syiem.

The minister said that as per Meghalaya State Agricultural Produce and Livestock Marketing (Promotion of Facilitation) Act 2020 they have issued a notification and very soon transit pass or permit will be issued to local traders.

Stating that this matter was a matter of concern for all the northeastern states the way this Bill was passed by Assam, Nongrum asked, “What are the incentives and promotional schemes of the government for rearing cattle in the state?”

To this the minister replied that “there are plenty of ongoing schemes”.

Mawsynram MLA HM Shangpliang joined in asking what are the main issues or content of this letter written to the Assam CM?

Shullai read in brief several sections mentioned in his letter to the Assam CM. In his letter, he has requested the CM to look into the critical legal provision to facilitate hassle-free transport of bovine animals through Assam by bovine traders from Meghalaya.

Shangpliang also drew the attention of the House to the issue of cattle smuggling. He said cattle smuggling was still a big problem in the state.

“We will all be astonished to know that during Eid season in Bangladesh, one cow that cost Rs 20,000 in Meghalaya costs Rs 1 lakh in Bangladesh. Why would the cows remain in Meghalaya when all of it is going to Bangladesh? Is the govt aware of it and what is it doing to stop this cattle smuggling?” Shangpliang asked.

The minister responded by saying, “We have had a series of meetings and have also instructed the respective departments to strengthen and intensify checking. This was done with a cordial relationship by working together with the BSF and police authorities of the state to ensure that cattle smuggling to foreign countries is stopped.”

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