NEW DELHI, Oct 26 - Amidst the controversy over slaughter of cows, comes the confirmation that cattle smuggling to Bangladesh this year has reached an all-time high with value of bovine smuggling touching an estimated Rs 13.80 crore.
This year has seen an unprecedented increase in cattle smuggling. A year-wise table of cattle smuggled from 2006 onwards has shown that whereas there is a decline in cattle smuggled from 23,649 in 2009 to 2,562 in 2011, it has gone up from 3021 in 2014 to 17,152 up to September 20, the report of the Supreme Court-appointed one-man Upamanyu Hazarika Commission has stated in its third report to the Apex Court.
The value of cattle smuggled in 2014 was Rs 1,89,35,080.00 and in 2015 up to September, the value of cattle smuggled has been Rs 13,80,82,645.00 as per a chart provided by the BSF Dhubri sector, the report stated.
The report of increase in cattle smuggling to Bangladesh comes amidst reports of lynching of cattle smugglers in several States across the country, leading to tensions in those States.
The Supreme Court-appointed panel lamented that though the operational agency guarding the border on the field is clearly of the opinion of declaration of a sterile zone, but a policy decision from the Central and State Governments is still awaited. It was recommended that cattle haats of Assam Government should be shifted 20 km away from the international border.
Among the suggestions put forward is the shifting of the cattle haats of cattle impounded by the BSF away from the international boundary. The cattle should be auctioned, rather than being kept and released from such pounds. This is in the context of riverine areas, particularly the Brahmaputra river, which is a medium of transport for cattle smugglers who push the cattle into the river so that they flow along with the river into Bangladesh.
The report also revealed a gap in the value of cattle seized as ascribed by the BSF and as realised by the Customs Department, which, it said, needs to be addressed urgently, as the gap is excessive and the Customs Department needs to revise the reserve prices and have a fair value of the cattle.
According to the BSF Dhubri sector, the only way to tackle cattle smuggling effectively is to adopt the above recommended measures and furthermore stop movement of cattle from rest of the country into Assam.
According to the report filed by the Veterinary Officer of Dhubri, in the current year, the number of cattle coming in through the border check-post at Dhubri has shown decline and barring 31 in August, it has been nil in June, July and September. In contrast, the BSF figures of cattle caught, which they say will be 30 per cent to 40 per cent of total volume smuggled, has shown a sharp increase for the last three months.