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95pc demand met by local sacrificial animals

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95pc demand met by local sacrificial animals

Bahram Khan, the Report24.com:

The India-Bangladesh cattle trade is related to the two countries’ religious politics and economy. Early this year the comment of Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh brought the ‘cattle’ politics to the fore.

A review of the situation after the Eid-ul Azha revealed that the Indian decision not to export cattle was a boon for Bangladesh. The Livestock Directorate said that 95 percent of the demand for cattle was met by the local sacrificial animals.

Talking to The Report, correspondents from the bordering districts like Jessore, Chittagong, Rangpur, Lalmonirhat, Kurigram, Dinajpur and Rajshahi said though the influx of Indian cattle through these border areas was less during the last Eid-ul Azha, it left no overall impact on the market. Rather, it was a boon for Bangladesh. However, it was learnt that most of the Indian cattle were brought in through Lalmonirhat this year compared to any other years.

A report of the BBC on October 7 last showed how cattle were related to the Indian ‘religious’ politics as well as the economy. The report quoting the US Agriculture Department said, “India is the top beef exporting country in the world.”

On February 2 last the Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh ordered the BSF to guard against cattle smuggling into Bangladesh. The issue caused a stir just ahead of the last Eid-ul Azha.

The Eid-ul Azha situation: The demand for cattle during the Eid-ul Azha is equal to the number of cattle slaughtered throughout the year. According to the National Board of Revenue (NBR), about 20 lakh Indian cattle are brought in throughout the year.

According to the Livestock Directorate, 50 lakh cattle are required a year to meet the demand for beef across the country. Of them, 25 lakh cattle are slaughtered during the Eid-ul Azha and almost the total requirement is met with imports from India.

But there were not enough cattle from India and most of the demand was met with local cattle, the directorate sources said.

The Livestock Directorate sources said the local cattle met 95 percent of the demand. A small number of cattle were brought in from India.

It lent credence to the fact that the local cattle can meet the demand for beef in the country, said the directorate’s Director General Ajay Kumar Roy.

Ajay Kumar told The Report, “The Eid-ul Azha has proved that we can meet our demand ourselves. This has infused confidence into the minds of both buyers and sellers. It will leave a positive impact next time.”

Referring to the data on the Eid-time cattle markets, Ajay Kumar said, “Everywhere the buyers and sellers were happy. All could buy cattle at fair prices.”

Chittagong district Livestock Directorate sources said about five lakh cattle were sacrificed there. It was higher by one lakh than the figure in the previous year. The cattle were traded at fair prices.

Confirming that the cattle supply was normal during the last Eid, Bangladesh Tanners Association general secretary Shakhawat Hossain told The Report, “We hope it will be possible to collect 52-53 lakh pieces of rawhide out of the 55 lakh pieces. So, we can say that though the influx of Indian cattle was less, it left no impact on the market.”

But because of the long-term supply shortage the consumers had to pay Tk 70-90 extra for every kilogram of beef. The government has taken different steps to tide over the situation. Already the Bangladesh Bank directed the scheduled commercial banks to extend special loans for livestock farming.

The issue leaves India in trouble: The people concerned in the BJP were themselves left embarrassed after raising the issue of cattle smuggling. The reports of NDTV, BBC and the Indian Times published in the last few months attest to it.

It became a bigger political issue after the lynching of a Muslim named Muhammad Akhlak on September 28 last in Uttar Pradesh of India on the false allegation of eating beef. The anti-beef people have come under fire from the conscious section of Hindus. In Mumbai where the BJP is in power noted writer Shova Dey wrote on the social networking site Tweeter, “Right now I’ve eaten beef. Come on, kill me.”

The comment of former chief minister of Bihar state of India Lalu Prasad Jadav spiced up the issue further. He commented, “The Hindus also eat beef abroad.”

The impact of the beef issue was left even on Engineer Rashid, a member of the Kashmir and Jammu Bidhan Sabha. He threw a party with beef and for that reason he was manhandled by some Hindu colleagues.

On the other hand, an allegation has been raised against Sangeet Shome, a BJP leader and member of Uttar Pradesh Bidhan Sabha, who made a comment against slaughter of cattle, that his organisation was involved in exporting beef from India to Middle East.

The beef issue is now not limited only to the Muslims. There is also an allegation that the ruling BJP in Gujarat is using the beef issue to save face against the Patel community, that is waging a quota-centric movement.

Deemed as ‘mother cow’ the animal is worshipped in Hindu-dominated India. On the other hand, the demand for beef as a delicious dish is high in Muslim-dominated Bangladesh. Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh was reportedly happy as the beef price increased in Bangladesh.

But the Livestock Directorate said the beef politics rather benefited Bangladesh.

Ends/AR/thereport24.com/Oct 17, 2015