By Amit Cowper
Gandhinagar, Dec 15 (IANS) The Gujarat government on Friday withdrew the local animal quarantine and certification services for livestock exported from Tuna-Kandla port with immediate effect under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, in an apparent ban on export of livestock from the state.
Addressing the mediapersons at his residence, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Friday said that the Gujarat government had decided to withdraw the services provided for health check up of live animals with immediate effect and requested the central government for setting up of required quarantine facility at Tuna port at the earliest.
“We are also urging the customs superintendent at the Kandla port not to allow export of animals from Tuna-Kandla ports till the specified facility for animal quarantine and certifiction is established by the union government,” he told reporters.
The state home department has planned to install a check-post near the Tuna-Kandla port to keep a round-the-clock vigil so that no vehicle carrying livestock reaches the port area. A notification in this regard has also been issued to the Kutch SP, Rupani announced.
However, calling the announcement meaningless, legal experts said the exports might continue as cattle exporters had been getting the certification process done from other states.
“I welcome the gesture by the Gujarat government. But this won’t bear any fruit. The exports may continue as the animal exporters from other states carry their own local certificate to export their cattle from Tuna, Kandla,” said Kamlesh Shah, a member of the legal committee of Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI).
According to a letter written to the Union Minister for Commerce and Industry, Suresh Prabhu from Rupani, the certification services for health and quarantine are rendered by the local government veterinary officer (Gujarat government) as authorised by the ministry of commerce through July 19th 1985 dated notification.
In the letter, Rupani has requested the centre to stop issuing permits for export of livestock from Kandla till the government develops quarantine station and certification process for export of livestock of the international standards.
Meanwhile, the Vijay Rupani-led state government is in limbo as Jainism followers and several animal activists are protesting against livestock export from the state to foreign shores.
Some animal activists believed that the announcement was nothing but a hogwash to gain political mileage in a predominantly vegetarian state.