Cattle row: Bengal leather industry moots legal recourse

Updated - May 28, 2017 10:56 pm IST

Published - May 28, 2017 09:28 pm IST - Kolkata

While the representatives of leather industry in West Bengal on Sunday threatened to take legal recourse against the Centre over its notification banning sale of cattle at animal markets for slaughter, the reaction of Trinamool Congress (TMC) was a restrained one.

State’s Education Minister and party spokesperson Partha Chatterjee described the notification as “violating the federal structure” and an attempt to “stroke communal passions” but said that formal reaction will come from Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

“The Centre issued the notification without any discussion with the State governments. We will discuss the issue with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee once we receive the circular,” Mr. Chattterjee said.

Meanwhile, representatives of leather industry, at a press conference in the city, said that 200 tanneries which export 50,000- 60,000 tonnes of finished leather faces the threat of shut down, which can render thousands of workers in the industry unemployed.

Cattle a State subject

Representatives of Council of Leather Exports, CLA Tanners Association and Indian Leather Products Association dubbed the notification as “legally null void” as the live cattle is a State subject. “How can the Centre issue a notification on live cattle, which is a State subject, without discussing the issue with State government? If the Centre does not immediately withdraw or amend the notification then we will approach the court,” said the general secretary of CLA Tanners Association Imran Ahmed Khan. They also said that they will approach Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee over the issue.

The leather industry representatives also accused the Centre of “deliberately targeting” the industry. They pointed out animals such as cows and buffaloes whose hides are most used in the leather industry have been kept within the purview of the notification. “Centre claims that the notification is aimed towards curbing cruelty towards animals then why have not it mentioned animals such as goats in the notification,” said Mr. Khan.

Describing the notification as a “man made crisis” for the Indian leather sector, the industry representatives said that the ban will jeopardize the livelihood of 35 million people in the country who are involved with the leather industry.

Earlier this week, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change issued a notification titled Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules, 2017, banning the sell of cattle-bulls, cows, buffaloes, steers, heifers and camels- for slaughter in animal markets.

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