According to an estimate at least 20,000 to 25,000 cattle heads worth $81,000 from India are smuggled daily into Bangladesh.
Guwahati: The Border Security Force (BSF) and Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB) may have decided to chalk out a joint strategy to check cattle smuggling from India but this illegal trade, which has swollen to a business of $500-million annually, remains rampant between India and Bangladesh.
If security agencies are to be quoted, this cattle trade has not only been encouraging trans-border crimes but also making the Indo-Bangladesh border a dangerous place for ordinary people.
According to an estimate at least 20,000 to 25,000 cattle heads worth $81,000 from India are smuggled daily into Bangladesh. Though, the BSF claimed that the number had come down significantly in the past few years, people involved in this trade pointed out that the decrease would be 10 per cent only.
Interestingly, there has been numerous studies on this illegal trade but hardly any recommendations — from the state police, intelligence agencies or NGOs — have been executed.
The BSF, alone, claimed to have seized over 70,000 cattle from smugglers, this year, in the Dhubri sector and handed them over to the customs department. If records of BSF seizures are any indicator, in the past three years the BSF has seized over one lakh cattle but what happened to these cattle? The custom and district authorities claimed that these animals were auctioned at very nominal prices. They also denied having information about those who bought these seized animals in auction, adding that smugglers buy back all the seized animals in auction and once again push them to Bangladesh.
The chain of cattle-smugglers is not limited to border areas, alone, but they have connections with the racket chain that originates from cattle-markets in Punjab, Haryana, UP and Bihar.