Rampant Cattle Trafficking Through Odisha Borders Raises Concerns, Calls For Govt Attention

Bhubaneswar: In what could pose a major challenge for the State government to check cattle trafficking, the Animal Welfare Board has presented an alarming fact that thousands of cattle from as many as six districts of Odisha are being smuggled to the neighbouring States including West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

Disturbed with the Welfare Board’s facts, Governor Ganeshi Lal directed the government to take appropriate and immediate measures to put a check on the rampant cattle trafficking in the State.

The information provided by the Animal Welfare Board under the Ministry of Environment, Government of India reveals that illegal transportation is being carried out mainly through two corridors- one via Balasore and Mayurbhanj to West Bengal and the other to Telangana and Andhra Pradesh via Ganjam, Gajapati, Rayagada and Koraput districts.

In a letter to the Governor, the Board stated that it is receiving regular complaints on mass cruel transportation of animals, particularly cattle from Odisha to West Bengal and also Bangladesh.

“Balasore and Mayurbhanj are the main corridors of cattle-smugglers, who reportedly smuggle thousands of animals every week to WB. Similarly, Ganjam-Gajapati- Rayagada-Koraput is another main corridor to smuggle cattle to Andhra Pradesh and Telangana,” the letter stated.

It has also been stated that there are ‘117 cattle markets’ functioning weekly in Odisha during which the major cattle smuggling takes place.

Jagyenswar Dandapat, Chief Spokerperson of GoSeva Samiti said, “The main channel for smuggling is Mayurbhanj as it is situated just 20 kms from the West Bengal border. Also there are no such regulations to crackdown on such illegal activities.”

On the other hand, holding the administration responsible for the rampant cattle trafficking, senior BJP leader Pratap Sarangi alleged, “Lakhs of cattle are being smuggled every week from Odisha to Bangladesh. And the administration has turned a mute spectator. Not only this, they collect money at the check gates and allow transportation of cattle, as such many corrupt police officers and politicians are making huge money out of it.”

Meanwhile, acting on the directions of the Governor, the Fisheries and Animal Resources Department has shot letters to the Collectors and senior officials of other departments to bust the racket running through the borders of Odisha.

Also, Odisha DGP had earlier issued SOP to SPs of all districts to prevent illegal transportation of cattle.

As per sources, a review meeting was also held recently to discuss on key features which include- strict adherence to SOPs, formation of a Task Force, regulations at the border check gates and also increasing highway patrolling.

Fisheries and Animal Resources Development Minister Pradeep Maharathy said, “They (People in neighbouring states as well as Bangladesh) are more interested in cattle slaughter and sacrifice which is why there is rampant trafficking. We have issued circulars to stop such illegal cattle transportation.”

The concerns of the state government have also doubled with senior officials of the Odisha Crime Branch STF revealing that gangster Syed Usman Ali alias Tito is behind a major illegal cattle trafficking racket that has its roots spread to Bangladesh. The links were exposed after the STF arrested gangster Tito’s two aides—Batkrishna Pani aka Batu and Saro Pati a few days ago.

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