Butchers’ Association withdraws strike, selling of meat will resume

Shillong, July 6: The Khasi Jaiñtia Butchers’ Welfare Association (KJBWA) on Saturday called off its indefinite strike following the state government’s decision to address the problem of cattle smuggling.

Addressing media persons after its meeting held here, president of the association Generous Warlarpih said, “We have decided to withdraw the indefinite strike and all shops across the Khasi-Jaintia Hills region will start to reopen with immediate effect.”

The sale of beef came to a standstill for the past one month after the butchers decided to stop purchase of cattle from Khanapara market in Ri Bhoi District as a mark of protest against the Hima Mylliem’s decision to open the market on a daily basis instead of just once a week.

He said the association also expressed its gratitude to the chief minister Conrad K Sangma and deputy chief minister Prestone Tynsong for taking up the matter very seriously.

The state government in a meeting held on Friday has decided to notify the animal husbandry and veterinary department for issuing health certificate and transportation challan of cattle in the state.

According to Tynsong, who is also in-charge of the veterinary department, the department is authorized to look into this matter as per the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.

“Henceforth, the veterinary department has to step in. The health certificate will be issued to any animals which are brought down to the state (from outside) for slaughtering or farming or any other purposes after proper health check is conducted by our veterinary doctors,” Tynsong had informed.

“Subsequently, transportation challan has to be issued by the authorized officer of the veterinary department,” Tynsong said while informing that notification to this effect will be issued by next week.

Warlarpih said that the association has been protesting against the issuing of challan for transportation of cattle by the Hima Mylliem as it is only paving way for cattle smuggling.

“The smugglers are coming to purchase the cattle meant for smuggling to Bangladesh in the guise of butchers,” he said adding “While only 2,000 cattle is sufficient to cater to the demand in the Khasi-Jaintia region but the cattle being supplied to the market at Khanapara is more than 4000-5000.”

The deputy chief minister has also ruled out that the challan issued by the Hima was illegal as per the Act.

Earlier, the association has also sought permission from the KHADC for setting up of a temporary stock for cattle at Byrnihat. However, the president said that the association welcomed the decision of the government to have designated place for conducting health check-up of all cattle coming into the state.