THE CENTRE’S decision regarding the ban on cattle trade for slaughter in markets is being seen as putting the milk trade as well as hide business in jeopardy. Progressive Dairy Farmers Association (PDFA) president, Daljit Singh, who himself runs a big cow farm, said this is the worst decision on cattle trade, which would affect the milking cattle industry, too, and kill the dairy business completely.
“In our field, most of the farmers are landless and they are surviving only on the dairy business and rearing of milking cattle to sell in other states for milking purpose only. But if there is a condition that cattle trade is allowed between farmland owners only, then this government is doing nothing apart from ruining small, marginal and landless farmers, who will stand disqualified,” he said, adding that because landless farmers cannot prove them as farmers and small and marginal farmers, who are mostly uneducated, cannot do much of documentation required for selling cattle.
“So, middle-men will enter this business to complete the documentation for uneducated dairy owners and then these middlemen will consume the dairy business completely,” warned Singh.
Already, a huge shortage of milk in the country is expected by 2025 and with this ban, lakhs of small dairy owners would be forced to shut shop, he claimed. Daljit added that this decision would create a huge social problem of stray cattle, too, in the country. The decades-old hide trade of Jalandhar, which sells the hide to the tannery industry of Punjab as well as to other states, has opposed the Centre’s ban completely, calling it the “worst possible decision” that is being imposed like a dictator.
Seth Sat Pal Mal, a leading industrialist in hide business and president of Boota Mandi, which is famous for hide business in Jalandhar, said the decision would uproot the meat industry and kill the small farmers as well as people in the hide business which has already incurred huge losses in the hands of cow protection vigilante groups in the past. “If the rule says that unfit cattle cannot be sold, then where will they go? On roads to hit people resulting in accidents?” wondered Mal.
“There are around 125-odd hide sellers in Jalandhar, including some very big and their businesses have fallen by 70-80 per cent in the past few years,” he said. In Jalandhar, according to a monthly estimate, around 45-60 lakh sq. feet skin is treated to supply to other states and for use by tanneries of the Jalandhar leather complex.