SRINAGAR: This sacrificial Eid (Eid-ul-Azha) has exposed again the dismal condition of leather trade in Kashmir, with traders once again bearing the brunt of dwindling market prices of sheep and goat hides. For the fifth year in succession, the prices have gone down by 300 percent.
The failure, as per Sameer Azad, Managing Director of Reem Tannery Private Ltd, one of the five semi-processing units operating in the Valley, is due to low market demand, failure of the state government to allow full processing of leather in the valley, and unprofessional handling of hides.
“Kashmir generates hide and does its semi-processing. Then it is sent outside for finishing, packaging and export,” Azad told Kashmir Reader. “Due to low demand, the prices of hides have gone down but this could have been prevented if all the processes had been done here.”
He said if the JK government’s MoU with Council for Leather Exports of India for doing all the processes here could have materialised, the Kashmir leather trade could not have been hit this much. According to him, a Mega Leather Cluster at Industrial Growth Centre at Lassipora Pulwama was to be set up where all the five processes could have been done.
“This process could have prevented about Rs 200 to stay in Kashmir per hide. A raw hide could have been sold at an average of Rs 50 above than the current rates,” he added.
In the 1500 kanals reserved land for the development of a Leather Park in industrial estate at Lassipora, Pulwama, so far only half a dozen semi-leather processing units which have the potential of treating less than 1000 hides a day have been built. According to the General Secretary of the All Kashmir Wholesale Mutton Dealers Association, Mehraj-ud-Din Ganie, this Eid Kashmir generated more than four lakh sheep and goats hides. He said they fetch on an average about Rs 60. Azad said that facilitation of full processing could have enhanced rates by up to Rs 120 per hide.
Sameer also said that the lower rates of imported hides and bad handling of hides at source were also factors for low rates.
“These hides have to be salted when taken. But they are kept without adding any salt. This makes a good quality hide a bad one and fetches less rates. If the government could set up a processing centre, market rates for Kashmir hides may improve,” he added.