Shillong: The price of beef, which is one of the staple diets in Meghalaya, has shot up due to restriction on transport of cattle to the State through Assam ever since the enactment of the Cattle Preservation Act, 2021 in the neighbouring State, Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Minister, Sanbor Shullai informed the assembly on Thursday.
Replying in the affirmative to a question posed by lone Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement (KHNAM) legislator Adelbert Nongrum on whether the Assam Cattle Preservation Bill has had any impact in Meghalaya, the minister said, “As per information received from the retail beef traders and consumers, the price of beef in the market has gone up”.
The minister also said that there is no proposal before his department as on date to ‘prescribe’ a rate per kilogram for beef.
Shullai informed the House that the department has written a demi official (DO) letter to the Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, requesting him to ensure “hassle free” transportation of cattle through the neighbouring state into Meghalaya.
The minister informed that in the DO letter the government told Assam that the local bovine traders are now unable to procure milch cows and other bovine animals for legitimate business purpose due to Section 7 (1) Sub-section 1 and 2, section 7 of the Assam Cattle Prevention Act, 2021.
Shullai said so far the department has not received any response from the Assam government and that it would wait before initiating further measures in this regard.
He also said that officials of his department were in liaison with officials of the animal husbandry and veterinary department and the police in Assam in this regard.
Opposition Congress legislator Mayralborn Syiem informed the House that after the passing of the Assam Cattle Prevention Act 2021 cattle traders were being harassed by Assam authorities and police.
Another Congress legislator Himalaya Shangpliang told the House that the price of one cow, which is around Rs 20,000 in Meghalaya is sold at Rs 1 lakh after being smuggled into neighbouring Bangladesh during Eid.
The minister said efforts were on to stop cattle smuggling to Bangladesh by having better coordination between the state police and the Border Security Force.