SRINAGAR: A slump in sheep and bovine hide prices and the recent controversy over ban on slaughter of bovines in the state is likely to hit religious seminaries and other charitable institutions in the Valley.
Hide dealers say raw hide prices have fallen by about 50 percent because of a low demand for leather in the international market, especially in Europe.
Arshad Ahmad, a raw hide dealer at Jamalata, told Kashmir Reader that last year a quality hide was selling at Rs 360-Rs 400, but this year it has plummeted to Rs 160 or less. Inferior ones fetch much lower than this price.
“Traders will earn profit even if it is small but charities which generate their income from raw hides that come from sacrificial animals will be hit,” he said.
The charities will also find it difficult to sell bovine hides after the recent controversy over a Dogra-era beef ban law, which makes even the possession of bovine hides a punishable offence. Many traders are reluctant to buy bovine hides.
Bilal Ahmad, who deals exclusively in bovine hide trade, told Kashmir Reader that of an estimated 5 lakh animals sacrificed on Eid, 2 lakh are bovines.
Hides of both varieities—sheep and goat and bovines—fetch about Rs 25 crore in revenue to the charities and other welfare institutions such as mosques.
“After the controversy over bovine animals, it seems unlikely that there would be good sales of and good prices for bovine hides,” Bilal said.
A good quality bovine hide would fetch about Rs1400. Today, it costs Rs 200.
Bilal added: “A prominent religious seminary in the city offered to sell its collection of 4000 hides but we declined because we are not sure whether export of bovine hides will be smooth.”
Most of the hides are exported to Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh as well as Tamil Nadu, two major leather processing centers in India.
Anjuman-e-Nusrat-ul-Islam, one of the oldest religio-educational institutions, uses earnings from hides to fund its centres like Oriental College of Arabic. Mushtaq Ahmad, who oversees hide collection for the Anjuman, told Kashmir Reader, “We receive hides from different quarters and we auction them to the highest bidders through a tendering process and the amount generated is spent on rations and clothing of students seeking religious education at the college.
This year we fear huge decline in our earnings as we are getting half the price on raw skins during initial bids.”