Gujarat rolls back bill on stray cattle amid threats over milk supply
Congress MLA and Maldhari community leader Raghu Desai termed the BJP decision as flawed, saying Gujarat’s corporation areas have laws already in place for cattle control.
Published: 22nd September 2022 07:44 AM | Last Updated: 22nd September 2022 07:44 AM | A+A A-
AHMEDABAD: Ahead of the Assembly elections, the Gujarat government on Wednesday withdrew a bill that aimed at prohibiting the movement of stray cattle on roads and public places in urban areas of the state. Cabinet Minister Jitu Vaghani told the media that the government has withdrawn the Gujarat Cattle Control (Keeping and Moving) in Urban Areas Bill, 2022.
Congress MLA and Maldhari community leader Raghu Desai termed the BJP decision as flawed, saying Gujarat’s corporation areas have laws already in place for cattle control. “But the BJP brought the bill to woo urban voters ahead of the assembly elections,” he said.
The bill’s withdrawal came days after Governor Acharya Devvrat returned the legislation with a request to “reconsider it and make necessary amendments”. The Assembly had passed the bill earlier this year. It required the cattle-rearers to obtain a licence to keep such animals, (stray cows and bulls) in cities and towns and get them tagged, failing which they could have faced imprisonment.
During the assembly session, the Speaker read out the governor’s message about reconsideration of the bill, after which state urban development minister Vinod Mordiya proposed withdrawal of the law. The move comes after members of the Maldhari community (pastoral community) organised a ‘Mahapanchayat’ on Sunday, demanding to scrap the Bill, and decided to stop the milk supply on Sept 21.
The community has been agitating since the Bill was passed by the state legislature on March 31 this year.
Besides the stray cattle bill, the community has also been upset over the stray cattle impounding drives taken up by the municipal corporations following a Gujarat High Court order.
This is the second major climb-down for the Gujarat government after the Par-Tapi-Narmada river link project was withdrawn due to opposition from tribal communities a few months back.
28 die due to stray cattle attacks in 10 months
Over the past 10 months, there have been 4,860 incidents of attacks on humans by stray cattle across Gujarat. At least 28 people have died in these attacks. Former Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel was injured in a stray cattle attack in Kadi in Mehsana district in August this year.