Cricket ball prices rise after illegal cattle transporters face the heat
As the heat mounts on illegal cattle transporters in north India, its effects are being felt not just on dining tables.
The cricket ball manufacturing industry is facing the pressure as well with a significant dip in the supply of illegal leather. It has, in turn, led to a rise in the price of cricket balls by almost 100%.
“Because of the madness here, we have to import leather from the UK. This is expensive because it involves import duty and other taxes. Ultimately, it is the consumer who is suffering. A ball being sold for Rs 400 a year ago, is now Rs 800,” the director of a Meerut-based brand told Hindustan Times.
The industry is dependent on cow leather, which is legally and illegally procured from states where cow slaughter is not banned. But the fear of harm among traders, in the wake of recent incidents and increase in the “protection money” sought by local police, has led to an increase in the price of cowhide.
“Earlier, the price of a cow skin sheet was Rs 600-700 but has now touched Rs 2,500. This has caused prices to double,” Rakesh Mahajan, director of BD Mahajan & Sons Private Limited, said.
Bigger brands have not felt the sting much as they can afford to import cow leather.
Smaller units are using buffalo skin as an alternative, but manufacturers say the thick hide is not a good alternative.
“Buffalo skin is not suitable for ‘alum tanning’ (the process of preparing it before ball making). The hide has issues like colour penetration and waterproofing. It is also time consuming. If one man makes 10 balls with cow leather, it will be six with buffalo hide,” Mahajan said.
Slaughter of cows, bullocks and oxen is banned in Uttar Pradesh, and offenders can be sent to jail and fined Rs 10,000.
Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand and Rajasthan hand out 10-year jail terms for cow slaughter, while jail terms vary in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Assam, Bihar, Chandigarh, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Mizoram, Odisha, Punjab and Tamil Nadu.
There is no ban in Kerala, West Bengal, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim.