Cattle may go back to customs: BSF
The Union home ministry could revert to the old system of handing over seized cattle to the customs department, instead of burdening the BSF with the additional duty of manning cattle, which are seized and meant for smuggling into Bangladesh.
Currently, seized cattle have to be kept with the BSF troops until the judiciary issues an order that the seized cattle should be handed over to the local police. Earlier, the BSF would hand over the seized cattle to the customs department for auctioning.
There are about 1,327 head of cattle currently kept at border outposts along the international border in the Meghalaya sector. Around 1,124 head of cattle have died during the current year for lack of basic amenities.
In 2019, the BSF had seized over 10,000 head of cattle valued at more than Rs 16 crore.
The BSF has been expressing difficulty in maintaining the seized cattle.
Addressing a news conference here on Friday, BSF Meghalaya Frontier inspector-general Kuldeep Saini said the ministry has taken a decision to revert to the old system. But till date, there has been no official notification.
“There is some delay in percolating down the instruction. Right now, we still have some cattle in our border outposts. The local police, after registering the case, approach the magistrate, and after getting the orders, they probably go for auction,” he said.
The BSF is utilising the services of the local populace to look after the seized cattle. As and when the auction takes place, the local police provide compensation to the locals for grazing the cattle.
The troops have also expressed concern over those cases where the authorities, after taking over the seized cattle, hold the auction very close to the international border. The same cattle are recycled for smuggling.
Saini said the state government has been taking some steps to ensure that the cattle are not recycled for smuggling. He said the cattle are being marked, and from time to time, questions are being asked to those who purchase the auctioned cattle for what purposes the cattle are being utilised. “Earlier, cattle used to be handed over to the customs department and they used to be auctioned and re-circulated. But this trend has been curbed to a great extent,” he said.
The inspector-general said it was up to the government to take a call on whether cattle trade along the international border should be legalised.