Bihar Animal Husbandry and Fisheries Resources Minister Awadesh Kumar Singh on Thursday hit out at the BJP for creating an atmosphere of intolerance in the country on the issue of animal slaughter.
“The BJP is creating an atomosphere of intolence in the country by raking up the animal slaughter issue,” he said in the state legislative assembly while replying to debate on the Animal Husbandry and Fisheries Resources Department’s budgetary allocation of Rs. 581.12 crore for 2017-18.
Singh, a senior Congress leader, was reacting to ongoing crackdown against illicit abattoirs in neighbouring Uttar Pradesh after the BJP-led government came to power last week under Chief Minister Adityanath Yogi.
He said that animal slaughter was not a problem or an issue in Bihar where the Preservation and Improvement of Animals Act, 1955 (Bihar Act II of 1956) takes care of matters related to upkeep of animals.
Under the said legislation, the slaughter of cow, calf, bull, bullock and buffalo is prohibited even as it allows slaughter of bull and bullock older than 15 years of age or those unable to breed or not useful for farm work and those buffaloes unable to produce milk, Singh said.
Similarly, the Preservation and Improvement of Animals Act, 1955 (Bihar Act II of 1956) bans export of cow, buffalo, calf and bull from Bihar without obtaining licence from the state government in this regard, the Animal Husbandry and Fisheries Resources Minister said.
Stating that the Bihar government has been sensitive to protection of animals as a matter of policy, Singh said that in the wake of notification on Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Rules, 2001 by the Centre, the state government, vide a notification in the same year, set up the Prevention of Cruelty Against Animals at the district level under the chairmanship of the district magistrates and the district police chiefs as the deputy chairman.
The Prevention of Cruelty Against Animals at the district level has mandate to control and ensure modernization of slaughter houses, he said.
Asked by the reporters later about number of abattoirs in Bihar, including illegal ones, the Minister said that the District Magistrates were gathering these details.
Singh also hailed Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for taking a revolutionary measure to ban consumption, production and sale of liqour in Bihar with effect from April 2016 in larger public interest and said that he was glad that the Chief Minister had entrusted his department with responsibility to provide those people engaged in liqour trade with alternative business in dairy.
The Animal Husbandry and Fisheries Resources Minister emphasised importance of fish farming as a viable business opportunity saying that fish production has nearly doubled to 5.06 lakh metric tonne in 2015-16 from 2.88 lakh metric tonne in 2010-11.
With Bihar consuming 6.42 lakh metric tonne fish annually and out of that 1.42 lah metric tonne fish being supplied by other states, Singh said that the state government has incentived fish production and put in place a marketing mechanism so that fish producers reap the maximum benefit of their produce.
Meanwhile, the Animal Husbandry and Fisheries Resources Department’s budgetory demand of Rs. 581.12 crore for 2017-18 was passed by the house by voice vote after the opposition members staged walk out at the fag end of the proceedings of the day by expressing dissatisfaction over the Minister’s reply.