Saturday, February 2, 2008
Maneka s love for animals saves Kashmir Rs 4 cr daily

Zahir-ud-DinSrinagar, Jan 29: Thanks to Maneka Gandhi, the self-proclaimed champion of animal rights,Kashmir has been saving Rs four crore daily ever since the closure of sheep market (Mandi) at Delhi. The state, however, loses Rs 5,60,000 a day as a result of Maneka’s campaign. According to Meraj-ud-Din Dajoo, a leading Koutdar (sheep dealer), around one hundred trucks carrying 160 animals each would leave for the Valley from the Delhi market daily. “The market was closed down when Maneka started dictating terms. Earlier, Kashmiri traders would purchase around 16,000 animals daily, approximately at a cost of Rs 2500 each. The exporters would take away more than 20,000 animals. Maneka wants the market to sell just 750 animals a day—500 to exporters and 250 to Kashmiri traders. The sheep dealers in Delhi refused to budge and the market was closed down indefinitely,” Dajoo said.Maneka did not stop here. In a bid to get her love for animals noticed, she also objected to the mode of transportation of the `revered’ animals. She wants the animals to have a joy ride to the slaughter house. The number of sheep transported in a truck, according to her, is a “violation” of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. A truck must carry lesser number of animals not 160, she believes. Dajoo said the state government would receive Rs 35 for every animal that entered the state. “The government is losing Rs 5,60,000 every day,” he told etala’at. The Amritsar Mandi, however, is functioning normally. But it cannot send more than 100 trucks to the Valley because of its commitment with traders from elsewhere. “The Valley requirement is much higher. In fact it is exactly double of what we receive from Amritsar. This will have an impact on the market. Besides the shortage of mutton, the prices will also register a hike,” Dajoo said.Interestingly, the butchers have started selling a kilogram of mutton (with gut) for Rs 160. And with nobody around to do the much-needed policing, the prices may shoot up further.Noor Muhammad, a consumer from Shehr-e-Khaas expressed surprise over Maneka’s “politically motivated campaign.” He said Maneka was “taming voters in the garb of animals.” “In a country where people are forced to board over loaded buses, she is interested in providing animals a joyride not knowing what effect it will have on the market,” he said. A senior veterinarian sees no wisdom in Maneka’s restrictions. “Sheep grow in just one year. By the end of the first year, they are fit to be marketed. Preserving them makes no sense. If we start preserving the sheep, their population will grow considerably, leaving very less space for the humans,” he said.

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