Hyderabad: As Eid-al-Adha, or Bakr Eid, approaches, goat traders in Hyderabad look at an uncertain future. COVID-19 has hindered the possibility of celebrating any festival since March. Bakr Eid, due to be celebrated on 31 July, is sure to be affected by the pandemic.
Each year in July, the markets in Mehdipatnam, Tolichowki, and other areas of the Old City are crowded with goats waiting to be taken home and fed. However, this year, the roads wear a desolate look.
As a result of the lockdown that has been imposed since March, goat traders are unsure if they will get permission from municipal authorities to sell livestock. "Nobody knows how the ceremonies are going to be completed. There are a few traders selling them secretly, but the official goat markets have remained closed," said Mohammad Riyaz who runs his family's meat shop in Nizampet.
Riyaz said only a limited number of goats are available in the market. While his shop runs as a regular butcher shop, they also sell goats upon special requests. "The business has been heavily affected. So, we are charging the regular price of Rs. 7,000-8,000 per goat," he added.
Usually, goats are brought from other states for the festival and are sold at the main Jiyaguda goat market, which comes under the purview of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation. It is one of the biggest livestock markets in the country and sees heavy business around the time of Bakr Eid. However, the doors to the market have been shut ever since the lockdown was imposed on 24 March.
A representative of All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM) told this correspondent that while people usually buy goats for each member of the family, they are now insisting on buying only one or two. "People want to give cash to the poor instead of the one-third meat that we usually donate from our Eid-al-Adha ceremony," he said.
Last week, members of the AIMIM had made special arrangements for butchers to get tested for COVID-19 in case the government grants permission to open the shops.
Small goat traders can be seen scattered on the roadside in Mehdipatnam and elsewhere. "These are only farm-raised goats and not the ones usually sacrificed during the festival," added a GHMC official.
The goats which are brought in the city, especially for the festival, come from Maharashtra, one of the states worst-hit by the pandemic.
"Markets in Maharashtra have been shut down. So we have not been able to get any goats for the Jiyaguda market," he said. The official also added that there is no talk of the local goat market opening anytime soon.
With festivals like Bonalu having passed by without much celebration, Eid-al-Adha also looks at a similar future.