Mumbai: The bill banning the cow slaughter in Maharashtra, which got President Pranab Mukherjee's nod, has divided opposition Congress and NCP, with the latter saying that it would cause hardship to farmers.
"Congress welcomes the President's assent. This bill has been pending for long with the President....But care should be taken that this is not used as a political tool to gather support. The implementation of this law needs to be totally transparent," Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil told PTI.
But NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said ruling BJP was "misguiding" the people and causing an economic "loss" to the state to please a section of the society.
"A blanket ban will cause the biggest problems for farmers. A farmer has to spend at least Rs 5,000 a month to take care of such animals. It is now the responsibility of the government to come out with a mechanism to take in all unfit animals and take care of them as long as they live," Malik said.
"Poor farmers had an alternative before but now that is gone. Exports too will be hit as buffalo meat was exported and bull meat was sold in Maharashtra. This will cause an economic loss to the state," he said.
There is already a blanket ban in the state on slaughter of cows; the amended act bans slaughter of bulls and and calves too.
The offence will be non-bailable and will attract a punishment of upto five years in prison, against the six months till now. The fine, too, has been hiked to Rs 10,000 from the current Rs 1,000.