The goat market at Deonar abattoir has been shut since the past five months and this has become a major cause of concern for traders and workers associated with the business. Prakash Shendge from the Dhangar community and an OBC leader held a protest on Tuesday demanding that the government allow the market to open immediately.
Shendge said, "The livelihood of about 10,000 workers is at risk. Several workers including traders, exporters are facing a difficult time. The market should be opened or we will be left with no other choice but to conduct a state wide protest."
The Deonar goat market is Asia's biggest market for goat trading. Several interstate traders mainly from Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan come here for the weekly market apart from international exporters. Shendge stated that, if the state government can allow wine shops to operate by maintaining social distancing then this market too should be allowed to function. Deonar is just not a place to sell meat but traders from different small villages of Maharashtra purchase goats and sheep and sell them here to big traders. Also, thousands of goats are exported. Since the market has been kept closed, villagers too have been affected largely."
Interestingly, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has only allowed slaughtering of goats at Deonar.
Akil Tade President of All Maharashtra Khatik Association told the Free Press Journal, "Before Covid, every week on two days Tuesday and Saturday a big market was held were traders came and sold goats and sheep. About 40,000-45,000 goats and sheep get sold out of Maharashtra while 10,000 remain in Deonar for their meat. As BMC has only allowed slaughtering and restricted export of goats, the traders are not keen to come here only for slaughtering of goats for meat, as it is not a profitable business for them."