A week before Eid, the ministry of commerce fixed the price of salt-treated cow skin at 35-40 taka per square foot in Dhaka while 28-32 taka per square foot outside Dhaka. But the hides have been sold at half the government-fixed price and less than half the price in some places. According to the price fixed by the government, the price of skin which is supposed to be 640 taka has been sold at 300 to 350 taka.
The government has set the price of hide, but in reality has not taken any initiative to enforce that price. Stockists and tannery owners have conspired to buy rawhide at less than half the government-fixed price, forcing people to sell them at throw-away prices. Doesn't the government have any responsibility to stop such irregularities?
The ministry of commerce opened a control cell and launched a telephone hotline to assist the public in the sale of sacrificial animal skins. But the sellers did not get any effective help from it. Due to delay, many skins rotted in Dhaka, Sylhet and other places. In Dhaka alone, 15,000 rotted skins were buried.
According to the commerce secretary, 30-40 per cent less animals were sacrificed this year compared to other years due to the pandemic. That is why the government set the price of rawhide this year at a lower rate than in the past. Despite the low number of animals, this unprecedented manipulation took place because the government simply restricted its duty to fixing the price and allowing the export of leather at the last minute. It did not take the initiative to prevent the organised manipulation of the rawhide market.
The sale of skins was left to the market, and the stockists and the tannery owners took advantage the opportunity. Government intervention is needed in the rawhide market at the time of Eid-ul-Azha. Otherwise, this crisis will be repeated every year.