Gloomy Eid For Millions Of Families In The Valley

3 October 2014

Srinagar: It will be a lacklustre Bakr Eid for millions of families in the paradise. The floods have robbed the Valley of its festivities this Eid. No hustle bustle, no rush in markets and a few takers for sacrificial animals have made this Eid a dull affair in Kashmir. For the first time in the last 20 years, the market for sacrificial animals have slumped this Eid. The demand has drastically gone down with people still trying to come to terms with the floods that wreaked havoc in Kashmir. Srinagar's Eidgah, the biggest mandi for sheep and goat, wears a deserted look. The sales have gone down despite the dealers selling the sheep at lower prices. 'Last year I sold around 400 sheep on Eid. This year I had ordered only 100. Of which I have been able to sold only 10 when Eid is just three days away. Last year the rate was Rs220 per kilo of mutton and this year we are selling at Rs200 per kilo,' said Fayaz Ahmad, a sheep dealer at Eidgah. KK Sharma, director of sheep husbandry department Kashmir, said this year there has been 30% slump in the sales compared to last year given the floods. 'Normally 10 to 12 lakh sheep and goats are sold (for sacrifices) on Eid. This year however there is 30% drop in the sales,' he said. Muslims offer animal sacrifices on Bakr Eid or Eid ul Azha to mark Prophet Ibrahim's readiness to sacrifice his son Ismail to fulfil Allah's command before He intervened and sent a lamb for sacrifice instead. Bakr Eid also marks the culmination of annual Haj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia. But this year Kashmir is witnessing a sombre Eid given that 12.5 lakh families have been affected by the flood fury. The floods have claimed 281 lives - 196 in Jammu province and 85 in Kashmir Valley. 'My sales have dropped by 80% this Eid. My turnover on Eid used to be Rs one crore or more. But this year there are no buyers,' said Ajaz Ahmad Beig, proprietor of Beig Sales Agency, wholesale dealers of Sugar, bakery products etc. Lal Chowk, which used to present a festive look, is deserted with people still counting the losses. Shopkeepers are busy cleaning their shops as their stocks for Eid has either been washed away or damaged beyond repair by the floods. 'I have suffered losses worth Rs 25 lakh,' said Yasir Ahmad, proprietor of Samdani, the famous shawl and dress material dealer at Residency Road. An official spokesman said divisional commissioner Kashmir Rohit Kansal has directed the officers of various departments to work in close coordination to ensure that the Eid-ul-Azha is celebrated with fervor across the Valley and people do not face any inconvenience.