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30 May 2017

Court & review signs

G.S. Mudur, TT, New Delhi, May 29: Sections of India's cattle traders plan to petition the Supreme Court against the Centre's ban on livestock markets trading in cattle for slaughter, saying the notification violates constitutional rights and will destroy the country's meat and leather industries.
The All India Jamaitul Quresh Action Committee will approach the apex court this week, seeking revisions to the May 23 notification that also bars cattle buyers from reselling the animals within six months, the organisation's president, Faheem Qureshi, said.
Cattle traders say the environment ministry notification, which forces abattoirs to buy cattle directly from farmers, chokes the primary supply channel that accounted for 90 per cent of the cattle sold for slaughter.
The ministry has said the new rules, which also specify the presence of animal committees and veterinarians at livestock markets, are intended to curb cruelty to cattle, a category in which it has included buffaloes and camels too.
But the notification has stirred widespread concerns about the meat and leather trades and the livelihoods they sustain.
"We are not against modernisation; we are not opposed to having veterinarians in the livestock markets. But the prohibition against selling cattle for slaughter in a marketplace and the mandatory six-month holding period for purchased cattle goes against our constitutional rights," said Qureshi, a lawyer.
"This ban is a violation of the right to engage in trade and business."
Others concerned about the notification are hoping they can persuade the government to revise its order. Sirajuddin Qureshi, head of a New Delhi-based meat exporting complex, said he had requested a meeting with Union environment minister Harsh Vardhan.
The environment ministry had said in a media release on Sunday that it had received some "representations" relating to the provisions in the new rules and would "examine" them.
The statement has stirred speculation among some that the ministry might modify the notification to remove buffaloes from its ambit. But an environment ministry spokesperson said there was no such decision yet.
"We've requested a meeting with the minister. We'll explain the problem ---- the huge impact this notification will have on the jobs and livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of workers employed in this sector," Sirajuddin said.
"This order is totally against Prime Minister Narendra Modi's agenda of creating jobs."
Meat industry representatives say that several million people have direct or indirect jobs in the sector. India is the world's largest exporter of buffalo meat, with Egypt, Jordan, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Thailand and Vietnam among the main export markets.
The government's Agricultural and Processed Foods Development Authority says India exported buffalo meat worth Rs 26,000 crore during financial year 2013-14, most of it from Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Punjab.
Members of India's Council for Leather Exports, an organisation with over 3,000 members across the country, are among those concerned about the notification.
Rajeev Bhatia, director of a Calcutta-based company engaged in the export of finished leather products, including handbags and briefcases, said he was "extremely worried" about the likely impacts of the notification.
India's leather industry has grown steadily over the past three decades, changing from a mere supplier of raw material to a provider of finished goods.
The Council for Leather Exports estimates that the country exported leather and leather goods worth $4.72 billion between April 2016 and January 2017.

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