Anger over makeshift rawhide warehouses

Workers at Posta applying salt to the rawhides of sacrificial animals.
Prothom Alo file photo

Rawhide stockists of Posta in Lalbagh, Dhaka have expressed their disappointment as the comparatively low number of rawhide which had landed there since Wednesday–the first day of Eid-ul-Azha festival.

They blamed that the makeshift warehouses, illegally erected around the leather industrial estate at Hemayetpur in Savar, for grabbing taking their share.

Meanwhile, people who sacrificed animals were dissatisfied with the selling price of goat hide. Visiting several localities in Dhaka, it was found that raw goat hide was left at mosques, madrasahs or community establishments unsold or sold at cheaper prices.

Although the selling price of cowhide was a little bit high on the day, the depression in the goat hide market contributed to rawhide coming to Posta, the stockists said.

Bangladesh Hide and Skin Merchant Association general secretary Tipu Sultan told Prothom Alo that Posta-based stockists saw less rawhide coming in because of the illegal warehouses mushrooming at Savar.

“Collection and preservation of rawhide follow some conservation procedures–a century-old traditional business in Posta. Every stockist at Posta has government permission to carry out this business. But the rawhide hoarders in Savar and other places are not permitted. Our association requested the commerce and industry ministry to bust the illegal warehouses but saw no positive response,” Tipu Sultan said.

A field visit to Savar found at least 65 warehouses of rawhide at Harindhara Bazar area in Hemayetpur. For the first time this year, the Harindhara-based hoarders collected rawhide on Wednesday.

According to the commerce secretary Tapan Kanti Ghosh, no warehouse of rawhide at Harindhara has government permission.

Bangladesh Tanners Association general secretary Shakhawat Ullah told Prothom Alo that hoarding of rawhide at the close vicinity of a leather industrial zone is rare in the world as unplanned hoarding of such perishable items is hazardous.

“We are trying to get standard certificates from the Leather Working Group. Illegal establishments of such unplanned rawhide warehouse will make our efforts futile,” Sakhawat Ullah said.

Leather Working Group is a global organisation responsible for the world's leading environmental certification for the leather manufacturing industry.

However, showing an excuse for the makeshift warehouses in Savar, Harindhara Bazar Buisnesses’ president Abul Bashar said that they have erected the warehouses only to preserve the rawhide.

“Transportation of rawhide from Posta to Hemayetpur is tough as well as time consuming while we can supply the products to the estate quickly,” Abul Bashar said adding that they set up the warehouses so that primary suppliers can sell rawhide at a fair price.

Leather industrial estate project director Jitendra Nath Pal said they cannot evacuate the illegal warehouses as they are not erected on the estate’s land.

“Dhaka deputy commissioner and superintendent of police can take action against the illegal establishments,” Jitentra Nath Pal opined.

Low price of goat hide

A market visit on Wednesday found many primary suppliers of rawhide frustrated as they failed to sell goat hide at good price.

Abu Bakar Siddique, a teacher at Nurul Karim Hafizia Madrasah and Orphanage told Prothom Alo that primary suppliers paid him only Tk 200 in exchange of 18 pieces of goat rawhide.

It means he received Tk 11 per piece of rawhide while the government earlier had fixed the price of goat’s rawhide at Tk 12-14 per sq ft.

Mamtaz Ahmed, who sacrificed a goat on the Eid day, said he left the hide of the animal at Posta free of cost. Some others sold goat hide for Tk10-15 per piece.

The government fixed price rate for salt-applied rawhide only. As there was no price rate for blood-stained rawhide, primary suppliers bought the animal skins at the prices they quoted.

However, on Wednesday, cowhide was traded at bit higher price than the previous years.

Field visits found that rawhide of big cows was sold at Tk 600-Tk900 per piece while Tk 400-Tk600 was paid for rawhide of mid-size cow and Tk 200-Tk400 paid for a rawhide of a small cow.

*This report appeared in the online edition of Prothom Alo, has been rewritten in English by Sadiqur Rahman.