The National Green Tribunal has directed 11 states including Jammu and Kashmir to participate in a meeting to frame a “national policy” to prevent the “rapid decline” in population of indigenous breeds of cows in India.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar asked West Bengal, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Goa, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Sikkim and Tripura governments to be present in the meeting.
“Counsel appearing for the Ministry of Agriculture submits that other states except the above 11 were present in the meeting and some of them have also submitted action taken plan before the Ministry.
“By way of last opportunity, we direct all the above states as well as other states to be present before the Commissioner, Department of Animal Husbandry, Ministry of Agriculture. The meeting shall be held on December 12,” the bench said.
The NGT directed that a representative of the Ministry of Environment and Forests should also be present at the meeting.
It said the report should be submitted in the tribunal before December 14 and posted the matter for hearing on December 15.
The order came after advocate Sumeer Sodhi told the bench that 11 states have not submitted their action plan to the ministry for protection of the cows and not attended the earlier meeting.
The green panel had earlier 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.
It had noted that there was nearly 80% decline in the animal population in Kerala from 2003 to 2012 and claimed such a situation 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 United States.