Bengal leather industry calls Centre’s cattle sale ban ‘illegal’

Bengal leather industry calls Centre’s cattle sale ban ‘illegal’

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Representatives say ‘live cattle’ is State subject; threaten to take legal recourse

Reacting strongly to the Centre’s notification banning sale of cattle for slaughter in animal markets, representatives of the leather industry in West Bengal on Sunday termed the notification “legally null and void” as ‘live cattle’ is a State subject, and threatened to take legal recourse against the Union government.

The reaction of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) was, however, more restrained. The 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 a formal reaction will come from Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

“The Centre has issued the notification without any discussion with the State governments. We will discuss the issue with Ms. Banerjee once we receive the circular,” Mr. Chatterjee said

Representatives of the leather industry, meanwhile, held a press conference on Sunday where they stated that over 200 tanneries that export around 60,000 tonnes of finished leather are facing closure, which will lead to thousands of workers becoming unemployed.

The Council of Leather Exports, CLA Tanners Association and Indian Leather Products Association dubbed the notification “legally null and void” as ‘live cattle’ is a State subject.

“How can the Centre issue such a notification on live cattle, which is a State subject, without discussing the issue with the 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.

The representatives added that they will be meeting Ms. Banerjee soon.

‘Centre is targeting us’

Accusing the Centre of “deliberately targeting” the industry, the representatives pointed out that while cows and buffaloes have been kept within the purview of the notification, goats have not.

“The Centre claims that the notification is aimed towards curbing cruelty towards animals, then why does it not mention animals such as goats in the notification,” asked Mr. Khan.

Describing the notification as a “man-made crisis” for the leather sector, the industry representatives said that the ban will jeopardise the livelihood of 3.5 crore people across India.