NEW DELHI: With cricket in the air and the World Cup approaching, one expected the sports good manufacturing industry of Meerut to be in a happy frame of mind. Big events usually lead to a rise in demand.
Not this time. Manufacturers of these goods say the last few years have been difficult, following the introduction of GST and related complications. Those in the business of making cricket balls are facing an additional problem. The leather used comes mainly from cow hide, which has become tougher to procure in the last few years due to the clampdown on the slaughter of cattle. Many units in Uttar Pradesh have shut down, forcing the ball manufacturers to buy leather from other states.
From small scale operators to established companies like BDM, almost everyone associated with this trade in Meerut is facing the same problem.
“We are importing leather from Switzerland to make cricket balls, which is naturally affecting the costing,” says Rakesh Mahajan, the owner of BDM, which has been in this industry for decades.
With established companies finding it difficult, smaller businessmen are faring worse. Fear arising out of incidents stemming from cow slaughter is acting as a deterrent.
“This is not a safe profession. You feel you are in danger when you are dealing in something that’s made using the skin of cows,” says a manufacturer of cricket balls. They say that buffalo hide is not ideal for this purpose because of certain properties.
Thriving till a few years ago and topping charts, this industry has now fallen behind Pakistan in terms of export of cricket balls, say veterans of the industry, with fingers crossed for the future.