New Delhi, Aug 1 (PTI) The National Green Tribunal today rapped the Department of Animal Husbandry for not involving all stakeholders in a meeting convened to frame a national policy to prevent the “rapid decline” in population of indigenous breeds of cattle across the country.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar summoned the Animal Husbandry Commissioner tomorrow to explain why the petitioner in the case was not duly informed about the meeting.
“Were you (Department of Animal Husbandry) not aware of the date of the meeting? Why did you inform the applicant a day before the meeting. This is unfair,” the bench said.
On May 23, the tribunal had directed the Environment Ministry, the Department of Animal Husbandry which falls under Agriculture Ministry, and all the joint stakeholders to hold a meeting with all states and UTs and come out with a common policy on the issue.
During the proceedings today, the petitioner Ashwini Kumar said that he was never intimated about the meeting.
Advocate Sumeer Sodhi, appearing for the petitioner, said that his client was informed about the meeting at the eleventh hour and questioned the manner in which the said meeting took place.
The tribunal had earlier pulled up the Centre for delay in holding a meeting with all states and Union territories to frame a national policy to prevent the “rapid decline” in population of indigenous breeds of cattle across the country.
The NGT had earlier noted that there was nearly 80 per cent decline in the animal population in Kerala from 2003 to 2012 and said that such a condition may lead to the extinction of the species in the state.
The tribunal was hearing of a plea filed by lawyer Ashwini Kumar who had moved the green panel against the “looming threat of extinction of indigenous breeds of cattle” in the country.
It 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 US.
“Even developed countries are taking steps to preserve the diversity in livestock and taking substantial steps to preserve and conserve their domestic livestock species,” the plea had said.
Kumar had accused the government of remaining a “silent spectator” to this “extinction”. PTI PKS RT