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Opened after 18 months, horse mandi in Jagraon gets lukewarm response

The government revoked the ban on the fair, which was imposed in January after Glander’s disease scare.

punjab Updated: Aug 30, 2018 14:30 IST
Aneesha Sareen Kumar
Aneesha Sareen Kumar
Hindustan Times, Jagraon
Jagraon,horse mandi,punjab
The mandi was last organised in March 2017 and was cancelled in September last year due to violence in Punjab after the conviction of the Dera Sacha Sauda head. (HT Photo)

Opened after 18 months, the three-day horse mandi in Jagraon received a lukewarm response on the first day on Wednesday with the number of horses on display witnessing a drop in comparison to the last time.

The government revoked the ban on the fair, which was imposed in January after Glander’s disease scare.

While the number of horses at the mandi organised biannually used to touch 2,000 earlier, this time scare of Glander’s paired with demonetisation took away the sheen from mandis, rued sellers. Only 1,100 horses were displayed at the mandi on Wednesday.

The mandi was last organised in March 2017 and was cancelled in September last year due to violence in Punjab after the conviction of the Dera Sacha Sauda head.

Later, in January, the state government banned the movement of horses due to which the mandi could not be organised.

However, stud farm owners heaved a sigh of relief after the Punjab Animal Husbandry Commission revoked the ban on equine trade fairs. Prominent breeds on display at the mandi included the nukra (white horse) which sells for an approximate cost of Rs 5 to Rs 6 lakh. The breed is generally used for marriage functions. The pure black Marwari horses, which has caught the fancy of rich and suave farmers in the state since long, was also at the mandi.

‘Payment a hassle’

Stud farm owners and farmers, who converged at the fair, raised concern over the mandi receiving a lukewarm response.

“The expenditure for upkeep of horses increased as owners were unable to sell horses for the last 18 months. Earlier, the transactions used to be cash but with restrictions imposed by the government, buyers are carrying limited cash and we are not keen to accept cheques. Making payment has thus become a hassle especially for those from outside the state,” said Charanjeet Singh, owner of a stud farm in Doraha.

On drop in the number of horses at the mandi, Manjit Singh Dhaliwal, who was allotted the contract of the mandi, said they were hopeful that the number of horses will increase in the coming days. “Buyers come from Delhi, Rajasthan, UP and Mumbai and farmers earn Rs 2 lakh to Rs 10 lakh,” he said.

Doraha-based jeweller Amarjit Singh (30), who brought his horse of nukra breed for cross mating, said, “I brought my horse for display and managed Rs 25,000. I own around 14 horses and buying and selling them has been a passion that passed on from my forefathers.”

Visitors disappointed

Raes Ahmad, a buyer who had come from Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh, said he has been a regular at the horse mandis, but was disappointed due to the drop in number of horses this time. “Horse lovers are worried about the scare created by Glanders and are apprehensive when it comes to spending lakhs while purchasing these horses,” he said.

However, vendors selling ornament for horses did a quick business on Wednesday.

First Published: Aug 30, 2018 14:30 IST