Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma has written to his Tripura counterpart Manik Sarkar seeking to form a joint opposition to the Centre’s ban on sale and purchase of cattle at livestock markets for slaughter. Sangma said the move “infringes” on the rights of states to regulate items on the State List which include cattle markets.
“State governments must assert collectively to dissuade the Union government from such actions which directly dilute the federal structure of our great nation,” he said in the letter to Sarkar last evening. He added that the notification will set a “very wrong precedent” in negating the spirit of the federal structure.
“The Union government should have tread carefully after due consultations with state governments before proposing changes in the regulation of livestock markets under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act,” Sangma said.
Calling for strong joint resistance from states, Sangma said the move by the central government to regulate cattle markets in the “garb” of environmental regulation is “a complete infringement of the states.”
The Meghalaya chief minister pointed out that like other North Eastern states, Meghalaya has 85 per cent indigenous people and cannot afford to ban the sale of cattle for slaughter. He said the butchers’ association in the Khasi-Jaintia Hills had recently met him and expressed concerns over the new notification.
“This piquant situation can lead to a clash of subjects between the Union and state governments, which are clearly delineated in the VIII Schedule to the Constitution and does not behold well for healthy federal relations in the larger context of cooperative federalism which the Prime Minister espouses so dearly,” he said.