The Congress government in Madhya Pradesh has decided to ease rules governing the transportation of cows to ensure that farmers and traders are not harassed by cow vigilantes and stopped by police. The government has also decided to allow trade of cows between farmers by removing a condition that they could buy bovines only from bazaars or haats.
Animal Husbandry Minister Lakhan Yadav told The Sunday Express that the new rules would allow farmers in Madhya Pradesh seeking to buy cattle from another state or district to approach the sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) in their area and seek a No-Objection Certificate (NOC) by giving details of the number of cattle, the prospective buyer and the route they were likely to take while transporting the animals. The NOC will be prominently pasted on the vehicle transporting the cows. The minister said the NOC would be issued for up to 25 cattle.
As of now, someone who seeks to buy cattle from another state has to seek an NOC from the SDM of the area from where he plans to buy the cattle. It used to be very difficult for local farmers to get NOC from the SDM in another state. Currently, no NOC is issued to farmers who buy from another district within the state.
Minister Yadav said that currently, in the absence of any written permission, it is easier for cow vigilantes to stop vehicles carrying cattle and take them to the police. “Organisations like the Bajrang Dal do it for the sake of publicity but the cows would be left stranded in police stations. Also, police would illegally charge Rs 100 or Rs 200 before allowing the vehicles to pass,’’ the Cabinet Minister alleged.
Former chairman of the executive council of the MP Gaupalan Evam Pashudhan Samvardhan Board, Akhileshwarananda Giri, criticised the move, saying the rules would make it easier for cow smugglers and cow killers to operate with impunity. “It’s okay to simplify rules for transportation but what’s the guarantee that only farmers will seek NOC? The move amounts to appeasement. If the government wants to protect cows, it should not relax rules but make them transparent. Or else, there will be anarchy. It will be difficult to tell smugglers and killers from farmers, worshippers and protectors,’’ he said.