Gujarat govt makes U-turn on cattle control law, postpones it after CM meets Maldhari leaders
On Thursday, the Maldhari (cattle-rearer) community of Gujarat met Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel and demanded that the new Gujarat Cattle Control 2022, be scrapped
Published: 07th April 2022 07:58 PM | Last Updated: 07th April 2022 07:58 PM | A+A A-
After the Par-Tapi-Narmada Riverlink project, the Gujarat government is taking a U-turn on the new Gujarat Cattle Control (Keeping and Moving) in Urban Areas Bill, 2022, which was passed last week in the state Assembly in a bid to curb the stray cattle menace.
On Thursday, the Maldhari (cattle-rearer) community of Gujarat met Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel and demanded that the new Gujarat Cattle Control 2022, be scrapped.
After the meeting, former minister and Maldhari leader Ranchod Rabari said, "Today the government has decided to postpone the 'Cattle Control Act' and arrangements will be made so that the Maldharis and other citizens do not get in trouble."
This is the second time in the last ten days that the BJP, which is preparing for the state assembly elections expected to be held in December this year, has backed down. On March 29, BJP State President CR Patil announced that the central government had agreed to put the Pari-Tapi-Narmada river inter-linking project on hold following fierce opposition from tribals living in areas that were likely to be submerged due to the project.
Congress MLA Lakha Bharwad, Gujarat Maldhari Samaj leader Ranchod Bhai and several leaders of the Maldhari (cattle-rearer) community of Gujarat met Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel in Gandhinagar on Thursday. Maldhari leaders say that the recently passed Animal Control Act is completely impractical. After the implementation of this bill, every cattle-rearer in the cities will have to get a licence from the government.
Reacting to the decision, Congress leader Lalji Desai said the government had to withdraw the law as elections were coming up.
Two days ago, members of the Maldhari community had met the state BJP president CR Patil. After the meeting, Patil assured them that the law would be withdrawn. He said, “I think that there are enough provisions in the Gujarat Municipalities Act to curb the cattle menace in the state. Some leaders have made their representations to me and I have requested Gujarat's Chief Minister to look into the matter and reconsider the decision. The Chief Minister’s response was very positive and I am sure the government will rethink.”
At midnight on the last day of the budget session of the Gujarat Legislative Assembly, the government had passed the Stray Animal Control Act with a majority.
The government has had to backtrack from two decisions in a short span of time, indicating that it does not want to leave any stone unturned in the Gujarat Assembly election year. There are 28 assembly seats where the tribal community dominates, while there are 10 to 12 seats dominated by the Maldhari community. The government does not want to take the risk of angering both these communities.
Under the law, cattle rearers will be required to acquire a licence from a competent authority to keep their cattle in urban areas, which comprise eight cities, Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Surat, Vadodara, Gandhinagar, Junagadh, Bhavnagar and Jamnagar, and 156 towns. Without that licence, no person will be allowed to keep cattle within the city limits. Within 15 days of getting the licence, the owner will be required to get their cattle tagged and refrain from letting the cattle move on roads or any other places in the city.
If the owner fails to get their cattle tagged in 15 days, he will be punished with imprisonment which may extend up to one year or a penalty of Rs 10,000 or both, the bill document said. The sale of fodder for cattle in non-designated areas in cities is also prohibited under the bill. According to the bill, any person who assaults officials or creates hurdles during cattle catching operation will be punished with one year of imprisonment and a minimum fine of Rs 50,000. In case of seizure of the tagged cattle, the owner will be penalised Rs 5,000 the first time, Rs 10,000 the second time, and Rs 15,000 as well as an FIR for the third time. Cattle without a tag will be seized and shifted to a permanent cattle shed by the authorities and released after taking a fine of Rs 50,000.