Gujarat CM to hold meeting with Maldharis over bill on stray cattle menace

The Gujarat Cattle Control (Keeping and Moving) In Urban Areas Bill requires cattle-rearers to obtain a licence to keep such animals in cities and towns, failing which they may face imprisonment.

Published: 05th April 2022 05:41 PM  |   Last Updated: 05th April 2022 05:41 PM   |  A+A-


For representational purposes (Photo | PTI)


AHMEDABAD: Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel will hold a meeting with leaders of the Maldhari community on Wednesday to discuss the bill passed by the state legislative Assembly to tackle the menace of stray cattle in urban areas, state minister Jitu Vaghani said on Tuesday.

The Gujarat Cattle Control (Keeping and Moving) In Urban Areas Bill, which was passed in the recently held Budget session of the Assembly, requires cattle-rearers to obtain a licence to keep such animals in cities and towns, failing which they may face imprisonment.

The chief minister had held a meeting with leaders of the Maldhari or cattle-rearer community on Monday and also discussed the issue with ministers during the day's cabinet meeting, Vaghani told reporters in Gandhinagar after the cabinet meeting.

"The BJP government will make sure that this Act does not create any trouble for the Maldhari community or their cattle. The chief minister will meet the community leaders again on Wednesday to discuss this issue," he said.

When asked if Patel plans to withdraw the bill as demanded by the Maldharis and supported by Gujarat BJP chief C R Paatil, Vaghani said a decision will be taken after the meeting on Wednesday.

Notably, Paatil had on Monday said that he had requested the chief minister to reconsider the bill following protests by the Maldhari community.

"After receiving representation from the Maldhari or cattle-rearer community against the bill, I met Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel on Monday morning and requested him to reconsider it," Paatil had said on Monday.

"The existing rules to control cattle menace in municipal corporation areas are sufficient, and if the community is ready to follow them properly, there is no need for a new law. I find their (community) demand justified, and have told them the government will certainly reconsider it," the BJP leader said.

Paatil had expressed confidence that the bill would be withdrawn in the next session of the state Assembly.

The bill was passed in the early hours of April 1 after a seven-hour heated debate that started around 6 pm, with the Congress vehemently opposing it and threatening to launch a statewide stir.

Since the passage of the bill, members of the cattle-rearer community have been up in arms against the state BJP government, launching a protest and submitting memorandums for its withdrawal.

As per the new law, a cattle-rearer will be required to obtain a licence from a competent authority to keep cattle in eight cities and 156 towns of Gujarat, and the cattle will have to be tagged within 15 days of obtaining such licence.

The bill further states that if an owner fails to tag the cattle within 15 days, he will be punished with imprisonment, which may extend up to a year or a penalty of Rs 10,000 or both.

On the seizure of tagged cattle, its owner will be fined Rs 5,000 for the first time, Rs 10,000 for the second time, and Rs 10,000 and an FIR for the third time, the bill states.


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