Written by KAMALDEEP SINGH BRAR | Amritsar | Published: June 12, 2016 8:32 am
Soap factory owners have requested the Punjab Police to save them from the “ire of cow vigilante groups” who, they claim, are hampering their business in the name of cow protection.
The Indian Express had earlier reported that a number of tankers were impounded by the state police following complaints that they were carrying buffalo tallow mixed with cow tallow. The complaints were filed by cow vigilante groups like Gau Raksha Dal (GRD).
On June 6, representatives from soap units had met with Punjab DGP Suresh Arora and demanded that the police stopped harassing them.
“Earlier, cow protection groups suspected us of using cow tallow. But now they are warning us against using any kind of tallow,” Yash Bhandari, president of the soap manufacturer and trader welfare society, is learnt to have told Arora. Bhandari owns OP soap and cosmetic limited in Jalandhar.
All the complaints against them by cow vigilante groups, they said, were later found to be baseless and the trucks would be released. But till then, supply would be disrupted causing losses to them, they said.
Recently, Punjab Gau Sewa Commission chairman Kimti Bhagat had announced that the trade of tallow was illegal and asked the state police to check it.
In response to Bhagat, a letter from the director of the state police’s bureau of investigation directed all SSPs, IGs, DGPs and police commissioners to take “suitable action” against such traders.
“Animal fat is mentioned as basic raw material for soap making in form no. 10 of CST/sale tax of 1956 and also in tariff schedule of central excise,” said Bhandari.
“Buffalo tallow is allowed to be used in soap manufacturing and other non-edible purposes. It was clarified in a letter dated June 25, 2007 issued by Punjab Meat Limited, a joint sector plant of Government of India setup in Dera Bassi.”
“The domestic soap industry is already under a lot of strain due to the onslaught of big MNCs. Now with these developments, our businesses will suffer. It will be Punjab’s loss if this continues. Manufacturers of other states, where there are no such restrictions, will start taking over,” said Bhandari. “With due respect to religious sentiments, we hope that these vigilante groups take it up with meat exporting plants and not harass us.”
Kimti Bhagat and Suresh Arora could not be reached for comments.