Frame national policy to protect indigenous cow breeds: NGT

NEW DELHI
23 May 2017

The National Green Tribunal today rapped the Centre for the delay in holding a meeting with all states and union territories to frame a national policy to prevent the "rapid decline" in population of indigenous breeds of cattle across the country."We had asked you (Centre) to hold a meeting with all the parties. Why didn't you do it? This is the problem with you people. First, you don't follow our orders and when we say anything, then you cry that we pass harsh directions," a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said. The observations came after the counsel appearing for the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) sought written orders from the bench to hold the meeting on the issue. The green panel directed the Environment Ministry and the Department of Animal Husbandry, which falls under Agriculture Ministry, to hold a meeting with all states and UTs and come out with a common policy on the issue. "We direct the counsel for the MoEF and the Ministry of Agriculture to seek clear instructions if they would be holding a proposed meeting of all the joint stakeholders to enable formulating a national policy for protection of indigenous cows as we are informed that in some of the states like Kerala have witnessed 79.9 per cent decline in the animal population," the bench said. The matter was listed for hearing on May 30. The NGT had earlier noted that there was nearly 80 per cent decline in the animal population in Kerala from 2003 to 2012 and said that such a condition may lead to the extinction of the species in the state. The order came during the hearing of a plea filed by lawyer Ashwini Kumar who had moved the tribunal against the "looming threat of extinction of indigenous breeds of cattle" in the country. The tribunal had issued a notice to the Agriculture Ministry on the plea which had also sought a nationwide ban on slaughter of cattle belonging to the indigenous breeds. Kumar had claimed a steep decline in the indigenous cow population and said that Indian cattle were being replaced by exotic and cross-bred cows imported from Europe, Australia and the US. "Even developed countries are taking steps to preserve the diversity in livestock and taking substantial steps to preserve and conserve their domestic livestock species," the plea had said. Kumar had accused the government of remaining a "silent spectator" to this "extinction".(PTI)