NAGPUR: The government has cancelled the export of sheep and goats to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) that was to begin from the city airport from Saturday, following protests by the members of Jain community.
The export project, an initiative of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, was spearheaded by Rajya Sabha MP and Dhangar community leader Dr Vikas Mahatme.
It was aimed at increasing the income of farmers and open new avenues of self-employment.
The first consignment of a total 2,000 sheep and goats was to be sent from the city’s Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar International Airport yesterday afternoon.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Union minister Nitin Gadkari and others were scheduled to remain present on the occasion.
The programme, however, was cancelled and postponed for indefinite period after the ministry directed Mahatme to hold talks with the protesters first.
The members of Sakal Jain Samaj, led by Dr Richa Jain, are against the project.
On Friday, they had taken out a march to the RSS headquarters to seek its support on the issue.
Talking to PTI, Jain, who is the president of Digamber Jain Mahasabha Samiti (Maharashtra), said there are several other options to increase the income of farmers rather than sending sheep and goats to slaughter houses.
“We are strongly against this project. Once it starts, it will not remain restricted to Nagpur alone, but will spread to other parts of the country,” she said.
Jain added that a petition will be filed in the Bombay High Court on Monday to seek a ban on this export programme.
When contacted, Dr Vikas Mahatme said, “Some members of the Jain community had taken out a march to oppose the project. Taking note of their protest, the Ministry officials asked us to first hold talks with the Jain community before going ahead with the project.”
“Therefore, yesterday’s programme was cancelled and postponed,” he added.
Nagpur Airport Director V S Muley said the programme was scheduled to be held at the airport at 1 pm on Saturday, after which the flight was to take off for the UAE.
“But early morning, we were told that the programme and the flight have been cancelled,” he said.