SRINAGAR: The sale of sacrificial animals in this summer capital of the state is yet to pick up even as Eid-ul-Zuha is only four days away.
Following the tradition, the dealers and herdsmen have assembled with their sheep and goats in Eidgah here for sale. But unlike in the previous years, a lesser number of buyers are visiting the market, they said.
“Last year, despite the floods, the rush of customers was much more. In fact, the last year’s sales encouraged us to bring more animals to the market, but all of this is proving useless,” Khursheed Ahmad Bhat, a trader who travelled with his herd to Srinagar from Ashmuqam in south Kashmir, said.
“In last two days, I only sold eight animals. It is too less, given that Eid-ul-Zuha is only a few days away,” he said, adding that he used to sell 30 animals a day on the last Eid-ul-Zuha.
Reduced clientele is also affecting the vendors who sell hay outside Eidgah.
Muhammad Shafi, one of the many vendors doing business on the footpaths of Eidgah, told Kashmir Reader that they are witnessing a “drastic decline” in daily business.
“Every Eid-ul-Zuha, we used to sell three to four truckloads of hay. But this year, it seems selling even one truckload of it would be difficult,” he said. The traders and are hopeful of a turnaround in the coming days.
According to the customers, however, significant disparity in rates is keeping them away from making any purchases.
Customers who spoke with Kashmir Reader said the animals are being sold at variable, yet exorbitant, rates, with the middlemen making things worse.
“They are charging Rs 18,000 to Rs 24,000 for a healthy sheep or goat. And the variation is so much that we feel cheated. There is no set rate list,” Sahil Amin Wani, who was bargaining for a sheep at Eidgah, said.
Another customer, Nazir Ahmad Naqash, said the sellers have made rates dependent on the breed and health of the animal.
“Yet,” he said, “There is a gross disparity in the rates of the animal with same breed and health.”
The customers said several people purchase animals from the dealers and then sell them to customers at inflated rates.
“This trend is not making things any better,” Ali Mohammad, a resident of Nawab Bazar here said. “I went to the market thrice, but returned dejected all three times.”