Syndicate robs rawhide traders of fair price
Published : Sunday, 25 July, 2021 at 12:00 AM Count : 458
Due to manipulation of a syndicate the government-fixed prices of raw hides of sacrificial animals could not be implemented in the country again.
Warehouse and tannery owners have bought sacrificial skins at the very low price. The country's second largest export, leather, could not get out of the hands of the syndicate. Not by square feet, this time the rawhides have been sold at per piece rate.
The price of rawhides, which comes from Tk 1,500 to Tk 2,500 per square foot, has been bought by the traders for only Tk 200 to Tk 200 per piece.
Due to the manipulation, the rawhides business in other parts of the country and districts outside Dhaka was a disaster. The city dwellers have given free rawhides to the mosques and madrasas as the seasonal traders were not seen much.
However, due to the low number of casualties at this time of the Covid-19 pandemic, the people concerned have expressed doubts about meeting the target of rawhides collection.
Despite extensive preparations, an artificial salt crisis was created. It is feared that a large number of rawhides will be damaged.
According to sources due to the increase in the price of leather in the international market, extensive preparations have been made to curb the smuggling of raw leather. Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) has tightened security in the border area on the instructions of the Home Ministry.
Besides, the traffic police on the highways are not allowing raw leather trucks and lorries to go anywhere outside the capital Dhaka. Factories in the leather, food and pharmaceutical industries have been kept open amid ongoing restrictions on corona control. Raw leather is not being sold in Dhaka's Posta Arat and Savar tanneries.
However, people have been disappointed as the fair price has not been ensured. Even seasonal traders in the sector have been seen to be frustrated.
Before Eid-ul-Azha, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi issued a stern warning that the fixed price would be effective.
At that time, he said, leather had to be sold at the price fixed by the government.
In case of any deviation, the government will be forced to take a tough stand. But after the announcement of the Commerce Minister, the leather traders bought rawhides at the low price.
Sources said this year the rawhides of the sacrificed animals have been sold at a lower price. Although cow skins were sold, goat skins were not sold in many places. Unable to sell the skins, many have thrown it away. And because of the lockdown, seasonal traders are in trouble with the sale of stored rawhides.
Sources said not only in the capital, this situation is prevailing all over the country. Seasonal traders complained that the stockiest had reduced the price of leather by syndication. And a few big tannery owners have worked behind it. They complained that they did this for buying leather at a lower price.
They also said that the market for sacrificial animal rawhides has been very bad for the last two years.
Many seasonal traders have already left the business due to losses in buying leather. But this time, seasonal traders saw a glimmer of hope during the Covid-19 crisis as rawhide prices were set higher than last year. But once again a cycle of syndication has reduced the price of rawhides.
While visiting different area in the capital this correspondent found that many seasonal traders have left rawhides on the streets without getting the price for it.
Last Thursday, the day after Eid, a lot of skins was lying on the road in front of the warehouse around Posta and Dhakeswari temples in the capital and on Lalbagh road. Unable to sell these rawhides even at the purchase price, the seasonal traders have left these rawhides on the streets.
Kabir Hossain, a resident of Mirpur, has been in the rawhides business for five or six years. The seasonal leather trader decided not to trade rawhides anymore as they lost a lot of money last year. But the government has increased the price of rawhides from last year, so this time the business will be better. But this time too he had to face loss.
In this context, Aminul said, even on the morning of Eid, the storekeepers were paying a fair price for the leather. But in the afternoon the price fell.
He was not buying rawhides at the price he bought later. He said that many seasonal traders have thrown their rawhides in anger.
Jobayer, a resident of Old Dhaka, said he bought 40 cow rawhides for between Tk 300 to Tk 500. But when he went to sell those in the evening, the storekeepers did not want to pay more than Tk 250.
He said this would not have happened if the warehouse owners had agreed to the price of rawhides set by the government.
Haji Tipu Sultan, secretary general of the Bangladesh rawhide and Skin Merchant Association, denied that the seasonal traders had discarded their skins without getting a price, saying that perhaps the storekeepers did not buy the rotten leather. And the leather has been bought at the price fixed by the government. Somewhere it has been bought at a higher price. So it is not right that sellers were deprived of the fair price.
Sources said half of the number of animals slaughtered in the country throughout the year is on Eid-ul-Azha. According to the Tanners Association, about 22 crore square feet of leather is obtained from Bangladesh every year. Of these, 74.63 per cent are cow skins, 31.82 per cent are goat skins, 2.25 per cent are buffalo skins and 1.2 per cent are sheep skins.
Meanwhile, the government has announced the prices of different types of rawhides from animals sacrificed during Eid-ul-Azha, fixing the highest price of cowhides at Tk 40 to Tk 45 per square foot in Dhaka and at Tk 33 to Tk 37 for outside capital.
As per the government decision, tanners would buy per square foot salted skin of goats across at Tk 15 to Tk 17 while price of salted skin un-castrated goat has been fixed at Tk 12 to Tk 14.