KOLKATA: The Border Security Force (BSF) in West Bengal is facing the threat of health hazards as they are living with cattle seized from smugglers during the monsoon season, said a senior BSF official in Kolkata.
Disposal of around 2,500 cattle has become a major issue that the security force is struggling to sort out.
The BSF seized around 19,000 cattle since January this year while they were being smuggled to Bangladesh for slaughter.
“Most of the cattle were seized by the jawans posted at the BOPs in North 24-Parganas, Nadia, Murshidabad, Malda and Cooch Behar,’’ said a BSF official.
“The disposal of these cattles has now become a major challenge for us,’’ said Y B Khurania, the inspector general of South Bengal Frontier said.
The problem began with the customs department deciding to stop auctions of seized cattle following an order of the Supreme Court.
In a letter to all zonal heads of customs in the eastern and northeastern region last year, customs commissioner (risk identification and intelligence) wrote, “The Supreme Court, in its order in August 2017 directed that the sale of cattle would be made in consonance with the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals rules, 2017. Customs officers are, however, not empowered under the provisions of the PCA rules or the PCA act. The PCA rules pertain to the seizure of cattle under the provisions of PCA Act, whereas cattle are seized by customs or BSF under the provision of the Customs Act, 1962. Under the PCA Act, the state police officers are empowered to make seizure and hence compliance of provisions of the PCA rules for sale can only be done by state police officers.”
The zonal heads were directed not to take over cattle seized by the BSF and to request them to hand it over to the state police instead. The state police refused to accept the cattle.
“The state police said they cannot accept cattle without the smugglers. They need to lodge a case before they take cattle in their custody,’’ said a BSF official.