VILLUPURAM, TIRUCHY, COIMBATORE: The cattle market in Kallakurichi was unusually quiet on Saturday, thanks to the Centre’s decision banning sale of cattle for slaughter.
Though the activities came to an early end in the day, the farmers showed their disapproval to the move by bringing cows to the market and blocking Salem- Chennai National Highway.
The weekly cow and bull market at Thiyagadurugam sees hundreds of farmers and buyers from Villupuram, Cuddalore, Salem and Tiruvannamalai districts every Saturday, apart from Theni, Cumbum, Pollachi, Puducherry and also Kerala.
On an average, 500 cows and bulls are traded in the market every week. Goats are also traded here. Most of the animals are bought for meat.
Many farmers brought their cattle (nearly 600 cows and bulls) to the market. However, the number of buyers was comparatively very less. Most of the cattle buyers said they were making the purchase for agriculture and livestock purposes.
As most of the cattle remained unsold, the sellers took their cattle to the Salem-Chennai National Highway located near the market and blocked the road. They raised slogans condemning the Centre’s decision and demanded that the order be withdrawn. They lamented that the order would affect the farmers badly as they would not be able to sell their old cows and bulls for flesh. Buyers also joined the protest.
Based on information, Thiyagadurugam Police arrived on the spot and held talks with the protesters. The officials told the traders that they were helpless since the order came from the Centre and requested them to withdrew the protest.
Later, the farmers and buyers withdrew the protest. Due to the stir, the highway traffic was affected for more than an hour.
The ripples of the ban struck Tiruchy also, with workers at a slaughterhouse at Ponmalai near G Corner Ground staging a protest against the Corporation for allegedly trying to seal it. The Corporation, however, said the civic officials visited the slaughterhouse only for regular inspection and had no intention to seal it.
At least 35 workers, including women, laid siege to the vehicle of Ariyamangalam Assistant Commissioner S Vaidhyanathan on the service road leading to the slaughterhouse.
The workers demanded that the Corporation official to show a copy of the Central government order on the ban on selling of livestock for slaughter. The Corporation officials, after an hour, left the spot with the workers demanding a discussion with the Corporation Commissioner N Ravichandran.
Speaking to Express, S Vaidhyanathan said, “We come on inspection regularly to find if there is any violation in the slaughterhouse. The workers from the area have falsely stated that we were there to seal the slaughterhouse. The workers are supposed to be working from 4 am to 9 am, so we went for a regular inspection.”
One of the workers, R Shanbai said, “We work hard in the slaughterhouse to make both ends meet and the closure of this slaughterhouse will leave us without jobs. The cattle from Pudukkottai, Thanjavur and Manapparai are slaughtered here.”
The abattoirs are going to face a tough time. In Coimbatore, the functioning of two abattoirs — in Sathy Road near G P Singal and Chettipalayam near Podanur — under the City Municipal Corporation is likely to be hit once the ban comes into effect.