SHILLONG, April 07: Beef sellers here under the banner of the Khasi-Jaintia Butchers’ Welfare Association (KJBWA) have decided to take on the responsibility of putting a stop to the smuggling of cattle over the international border into Bangladesh even as they have alleged that the state government is not taking the matter seriously.
Announcing this decision at the sidelines of a rally organized by the KJBWA here on Friday, the association vice president Generous Warlarpih said, “We will be compelled to come up with a dedicated team to conduct checking against cattle smuggling and will not mind even if we get arrested.”
Armed with placards, more than a hundred beef sellers from the six districts of Khasi-Jaintia Hills region took out the protest march from Motphran to Additional Secretariat.
Claiming that the association members can easily differentiate between cattle meant for consumption in the state and those for transportation across the international border, Warlarpih said that the association will deal with this menace which is affecting their livelihood.
Accusing the state government of shying away from its responsibility, he said the association has also taken strong cognizance of the statement made by Chief Minister Dr. Mukul Sangma in the Assembly last month that the issue was the duty of the BSF and the Customs not of the state.
“We condemn the insensitive statement of the CM which only reflects the lack of seriousness on the part of the government in dealing with the issue,” he added.
On the other hand, a member from Jaintia Hills L Pyrtuh said that beef sellers in the region have been affected to a great extent due to such illegal smuggling of cattle.
Most of the 30 beef shops in Jowai have closed down due to lack of availability of cattle, he said.
“Despite cattle being in plenty in areas under War Jaintia, these are being smuggled to Bangladesh instead of being sold for local consumption,” Pyrtuh claimed.
He is also of the opinion that the state government should come up with strong measures to put an end to the smuggling of cattle over the international border.