The Border Security force has seized 1260 cattle this year till the month of April in Dhubri and Cooch Behar meant for smuggling to Bangladesh. In most cases, these cows were taken to Bangladesh by truck via South Salmara and Hatsingimari. The market prices of the cattle heads are 10 lakhs Indian Rupee according to BSF sources.
In the year 2015, the Border Security Force had seized over 23,000 cattle while being smuggled out to Bangladesh. But sources claims, the actual number of cattle continuing to be pushed out is much higher than official records.
Recently, a Supreme Court-appointed Commission to make an on-the-spot assessment of the Indo-Bangladesh border in Assam has found a ‘phenomenal increase’ in cattle smuggling along the Assam-Bangladesh Border. It has suggested amending the law to check this menace. The Commission has also recommended shifting cattle haats 20 km away from the border.
‘Cattle smuggling has shown a phenomenal increase this year as compared to the past few years and it is imperative that the cattle haats be shifted,’ the Commission said pointing at the lack of an effective law to check the menace, it also suggested amending the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
The value of cattle smuggled out to Bangladesh through the Dhubri sector in Assam was Rs 1.89 crore during 2014, the same had already crossed the Rs 13.80 crore mark by mid-September in 2015 said the report.
‘This year has seen an unprecedented increase in cattle smuggling. A year-wise table of cattle smuggled (through Dhubri sector) from 2006 onward has shown a decline in cattle smuggled from 23,649 in 2009 to 2,562 in 2011, (but) it has gone up from 3,021 in 2014 to 17,152 up to September 20, 2015. The value of cattle smuggled in 2014 was Rs 1,89,35,080, which went up to Rs 13,80,82,645 till September 20, 2015 as per a chart provided by the BSF,’ the report said.
India and Bangladesh are separated by a 4098-km border passing through flat and hilly terrain, rivers and jungles. In some parts, the border passes through heavily populated areas with cultivation extending to the very edge of the border. Border pillars remain the only identification of the international boundary.
Though increased vigil along the Indo-Bangladesh border, especially in the Assam and North Bengal sectors have brought down cattle smuggling to Bangladesh, but absence of a stringent law continues to leave loopholes in the preventive mechanism.
By Syeda Ambia Zahan