New Delhi: Testing labs will be established at ports to check illegal export of cow meat, the government announced on Tuesday in the midst of a raging controversy over the Dadri killing of a man over rumours of eating beef.
Minister of State for Agriculture Sanjeev Kumar Balyan made the announcement after a review meeting on illegal export of cow meat with senior officials of agri-export promotion body, APEDA, and the Food Processing Ministry and the Agriculture Ministry.
"APEDA officials said there is no illegal export of cow meat as production and exports are strictly monitored through a software 'Meat Net'. However, it has been decided to set up labs at ports to check illegal export of cow meat," Balyan told reporters.
Exports are largely undertaken via the Mumbai port, he said.
The Minister said the buffalo meat exports have declined 14.7 per cent to USD 1,483 million during April-August of this year due to strict monitoring of shipments via the software.
The buffalo exports are being undertaken by 49 APEDA registered slaughter houses, of which 20 are in Uttar Pradesh, he added.
There are 1,696 slaughter houses in the country, of which a maximum of 316 houses are in Maharashtra, followed by 285 in Uttar Pradesh and 185 in Telangana.
Cow meat export is banned in the country.
When asked about the Centre's plan to bring a model law on cow slaughter, Balyan said, "I have no idea about such a proposal."
He also said the Centre cannot control illegal cow slaughter as the matter is a state subject.
Currently, five states and one Union Territory -- Arunachal Pradesh, Kerala, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Lakshadweep -- have no laws on prohibiting cow slaughter.
Movement of beef within and outside the state is completely banned in states such as Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Daman and Diu, Haryana, Goa, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
Sale of beef is completely banned in Chhattisgarh, Daman and Diu, Delhi, Haryana, Goa, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
India exported buffalo meat worth USD 4,781.18 million in 2014-15.
Yesterday, Balyan had said the lynching incident at Dadri was a "spontaneous" act" and no communal colour should be given to it. He had asked the Uttar Pradesh government to take strict action against cow slaughter.
"The incident was spontaneous and there was no conspiracy. The Centre has banned import and export of beef. We will review if cow meat is exported illegally," Balyan had said.