Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Sunday quelled Meghalaya people’ concerns over the potential possibility of beef shortages after the Assam government’s adoption of the Cattle Preservation Bill.
“Our bill will not affect the consumption of beef or supply of cattle to Meghalaya or Nagaland or Arunachal. They are free to bring things through Assam but, the only thing is for them to issue a permit,” Sarma told media persons at Sohra in Meghalaya on July 25.
Meghalaya is one of the Northeast states with the biggest population that consumes beef, and the state is heavily reliant on other states around the country for cattle supply.
As per the Assam Chief Minister, the legislation is very clear; once a particular state government issues a permission for cattle movement via Assam, the state would deliver the consignment.
“This ban is within the geography and jurisdiction of Assam and, whenever Meghalaya or Arunachal or Nagaland needs consignment, only the state governments can certify that the vehicles are plying to their (respective) state,” Sarma clarified.
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma introduced the Assam Cattle Preservation Bill, 2021 on the first day of the state Assembly’s budget session on July 12.
The Bill seeks to make it illegal to transport cows from any location within Assam to any location outside the state, as well as to make it illegal to transport cows from any location outside Assam to any location inside the state.
The new regulation also seeks to control the buying and selling of beef by limiting such activity to locations approved by authorities.
Permission to buy and sell beef is not allowed in locations that are “predominantly inhabited by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and other non-beef eating communities or places that fall within a five-kilometre radius of a temple, satra, and any other institution as may be prescribed by the authorities”.