Srinagar, July 8: Much to the chagrin of animal sellers, the sacrificial animals’ market in Eidgah Srinagar has witnessed a slump in sales ahead of Eid-ul- Adha this year, courtesy the financial crunch and lack of regulation by the government.
This comes at a time when Muslims are celebrating their first Eid in three years without any COVID restrictions.
Umer Ganaie, a resident of Nawadal, has been in the sheep business for around a decade. In the last fifteen days he has sold only 40 of his sheep, compared to 150 he sold in the same time during the previous years.
“I sold those sheep for a minimum profit, as people don’t have buying power unlike previous years,” said Ganaie.
Zahoor Ahmed, a resident of Khag Budgam who had come for the first time to sell his sheep at Eidgah, said he hasn’t been able to attract a single customer so far. “Back home, the financial situation of people wasn’t good this year, so I thought about selling here but it seems people here are in a bad economic shape too,” lamented Ahmed as he fed his sheep marked with henna and blue paint.
Amid all this, people who come to buy sacrificial animals allege that sellers weren’t going by the government rates which is between 285/kg to 310/kg, and were selling sheep around and over 340/kg.
“Regulations seem to be only on the paper, authorities came a day earlier, penalised a couple of dealers and later on purchased themselves sheep from the same,” claimed a youth, who identified himself as Irfan. He said that no dealer is ready to sell sheep at the government rates.
Mohammed Irfan, a sheep seller, said that the rates fixed by the administration weren’t genuine. “At that rate we won’t even be able to compensate for the fodder costs for our animals, leave aside profits,” he said.
He said that inflation has hit every section of the market from fuel to groceries, “then why does the administration want us to sell at cheap prices,” he said.
Mohammed Aslam, who has been selling sheep for the last twenty years, said that every customer mentions his terrible financial condition and starts bargaining without limits. “They want to buy at a much lesser price.”
Aslam, who has spent five days here at Eidgah said, he only sold sixteen of his sheep, while comparing to earlier years, he said, “I would sell all my stock in just one day.”
He said, while inflation and the economic crisis have caused the drop in sales, more people joining the business is also among the reasons.