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29 May 2017

Survival fear hangs on cattle markets - Law and order worry over closure

Cattle brought for trade in Murshidabad's Domkal on Saturday. (Chayan Majumdar)
TT: The Mamata Banerjee government is planning to contest the Centre's ban on sale of cattle for slaughter in animal markets legally and politically.
Sources said the Bengal government would highlight the plight of people involved in the cattle trade in its legal challenge to the notification issued by the Union environment ministry on May 23 that prohibited the sale or purchase of cattle in livestock markets for "slaughter purpose".
Trade still went on in the animal markets, though in lesser volume as the arrival of animals has declined in the last few months due to bovine vigilantism.
The Telegraph takes a look at licensed animal markets in Birbhum, Nadia and Murshidabad. The three districts together have 26 animal markets that have permission from either panchayats or civic bodies.
BIRBHUM
Number of animal markets: Six
Location of the markets: Illambazar, Gopalpur in Nalhati, Kantor in Dubrajpur, Sainthia, Rampurhat and Purandarpur in Suri
Animals sold: Cows, buffaloes and goats
Volume of animals sold: Around 60,000 a week
Weekly business: Rs 55 crore to Rs 65 crore
Voices in the market: "Not only local people but also thousands from different districts and other states like Bihar and Jharkhand benefit financially from the trade. If all markets are shut, it would affect a large number people," said Abdul Rahaman Khadim, one of the partners of Illambazar cattle market.
Administration's worry: Officials said sudden closure of the markets would cause an impact on rural economy as well as law and order.
District magistrate P. Mohangandhi said: "We are yet to receive any notification and so, it is too early to comment."
NADIA
Number of markets: Seven
Location of animal markets: Karimpur, Thanarpara, Krishnagar, Debagram, Dhubulia, Birohi and Bethuadahari
Animals sold: Cows and buffaloes
Volume of animals sold: Around 1,500 a week
Weekly business: Around Rs 3.5 crore
Market voices: Ranjit Khan, a cattle merchant at Thanarpara, said: "The market controls the local economy. Around 400 families in the surrounding areas are also dependent on the market.
A milch cow costs at least Rs 40,000. Those animals for slaughter are sold for rates between Rs 30,000 and Rs 35,000. If cattle trade is stopped, these families will be in great trouble and may be forced into anti-social activities.
Administration's worry: A section of local vigilantes want the markets to be closed immediately after the notification, but they remain open in the absence of any direction from Nabanna.
"I have not received any order," said Nadia district magistrate Sumit Gupta.
MURSHIDABAD
Number of animal markets: 13
Location of animal markets: Beldanga, Patikabari, Tangramari, Domkal, Bhatsala, Godhanpara, Murshidabad, Rampara, Krishnapur, Omarpur, Dhulian, Mahalandi and Dakbangla
Animals sold: Cows, buffaloes, goats and camels
Volume of animals sold: About 10,000 a week
Weekly business: Rs 25 to Rs 30 crore
Voices in the market: "I have been doing this business for the last 20 years. I do not supply cattle to Bangladesh. If this business is stopped, there would be a rise in thefts," said Rijaul Mondal, a trader in Domkal's cattle market.
Administration's worry: Senior officials say the licences to the animal markets are issued by either civic bodies or panchayat samitis and are renewed every year.
"As per the Panchayat Act, authorities cannot issue licence for animal markets within 8km of the international border.
But the recent order extends the distance to 50km, which would affect the economy and create a law and order problem," an official said.
District magistrate Sharad Kumar Diwedi said: "My office is yet to receive a copy of the notification. Whatever orders the state gives would be adhered to."
Compiled by Snehamoy Chakraborty, Subhasish Chaudhuri and Alamgir Hossain

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