A special highway patrolling team of the Forest Department in Mudamalai Tiger Reserve in a surprise inspection caught a vehicle from Karnataka State carrying cattle cramped in it beyond the permissible limit.
Although the transporters did not possess the fitness certificates issued by the neighbouring state for transporting the animals, they had a certificate issued by the Gudalur Animal Husbandary Department on the same day, permitting them to transport the cattle from Gudalur to Bathery in Kerala.
The maximum that a large vehicle can carry is 16 animal weighing about 200 kg each. However, the vehicle was carrying at least 33 cattle.
The fitness certificate found in possession of the vehicle, a copy of which is with Express, showed that the assistant director of Animal Husbandry has signed the certificate granting permission for the cattle to be transported from Gudalur to Bathery.
The vehicle KA 05 AD 6861, which was coming from Karnataka, entered Gudalur and was stopped and inspected around 10.30 pm at the Thorapally check post inside the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve. The team found that the animals, being taken for slaughter, were crammed in the vehicle with several animals with broken necks and twisted legs.
The vehicle had managed to cross several check posts, including those at Melkammanlli, Bandipur, Kankanallah in Karnataka, before entering Tamil Nadu.
The transporter was fined `10,000 and then let off. When Express contacted Chandran, deputy director, Mudumalai Tiger Reserve, he confirmed that the fined had been levied.
When the assistant director of Gudalur Animal Husbandary, Srinivasan, was contacted, he said no such certificate had been issued for the past four month.