Jodhpur, Feb 21 (PTI) Rampant smuggling of camels has been taking place, despite ithe state animal of Rajasthan and an anti-smuggling act being in force, a functionary of the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) said today. Also Read - Rajasthan: CLP Meet Ends, Congress Vows to Bring Confidence Motion in Assembly Tomorrow

The trafficking has shown a rising trend in past couple of years, he added. Also Read - Rajasthan Political Crisis: Suspended Congress MLA Files Plea in High Court Seeking NIA Probe

“Cattle fairs in the state have become centre of smuggling of camels,” said honorary officer of the board Sudershan Kaushik. Also Read - Rajasthan Crisis: 'Gehlot Government in Majority', Says State Congress in-Charge Avinash Pande

The money generated in camel-trafficking might even be used for funding terror activities and is a big source of generation of black money, he added.

Sharing the economics of trafficking, he said a camel is purchased by the mafia from Rajasthan for around Rs 10-15,000 and several of these animals are cruelly stuffed in trucks in terrible condition.

“These animals are sold for Rs one lakh each to the slaughterers, who purchase them for their meat and skin”, Kaushik said.

According to the board, 700 trafficked camels were rescued since November last year from the places like Malda, Siliguri, Kishanganj and Islampur in West Bengal. All were rehabilitated at the camel sanctuary in Sirohi district.

Another officer Kirti Sachdeva said that recently they held a meeting with the state Home Minister Gulab Chand Kataria apprising him of the grim situation and he has assured to appoint a nodal officer.      The board is also looking forward to move the High Court for constitution of an Special Investigation Team into the matter, the officer said.

There is a very organized mafia, with members from places like Baghpat, Mewat and Ghaziabad, which is active in illegal camel trafficking.

Officers of the board were talking to media persons a day after rescue of 12 animals from Agolai near Jodhpur and arrest of four persons. They expressed concern over the increasing incidents of camel smuggling from Rajasthan to far off states like West Bengal, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Assam etc for slaughter.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.