As the anti-beef activists are increasing their attacks on traders of beef and cow hides in Uttar Pradesh day by day, ball manufacturers in UP are having a tough time to make the cricket balls affordable.
It’s the lack of supply of cow hides in Uttar Pradesh which has forced the ball manufacturers to import leather from the United Kingdom, resulting the increased cost of production. “We have to import leather from the UK. This is expensive because it involves import duty and other taxes,” a Meerut-based businessman was quoted as saying on Hindustan Times, as he explained the issue. “Ultimately, the consumer is suffering. A ball sold at Rs 400 a year ago goes for Rs 800 now.”
Uttar Pradesh has a jail term and a Rs 10,000 fine for those who slaughter cows, bullocks, and oxen. Haryana, Jammu, and Kashmir, Jharkhand and Rajasthan have 10-year jail terms for cow slaughter. Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Assam, Bihar, Chandigarh, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Mizoram, Odisha, Punjab and Tamil Nadu all have jail terms for cow slaughter, though the terms vary.
Since the cow slaughtering has been banned in Uttar Pradesh, most companies are now importing cow hides from states such as Kerala, West Bengal, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim, where cow slaughtering is yet to be banned. While some bigger brands have decided to import leather, the smaller companies have no other choice but to concentrate on using buffalo hides – which are thicker – to make cricket balls.
As more states ban cow slaughter and beef, leather is becoming harder to procure, even illegally. Cow smugglers have recently been physically harmed – some even killed – and the police are asking for more protection money,
Rakesh Mahajan, director of BD Mahajan & Sons Private Limited further said, “Buffalo skin is not suitable for alum tanning (the process of preparing the hide before making cricket balls).
The hide also has colour and waterproofing problems. It is also time consuming. If a man makes 10 balls with cow leather, he will make only six with buffalo hide.”