‘The closure had rendered those who sell grass and cattle feed jobless'

Cattle owners and farmers blocked the Tiruchi–Dindigul highway in Manapparai on Wednesday urging the district administration to reopen the cattle shandy in the town.

The weekly shandy held on Wednesdays has been closed since November 17 following the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease. Though they appreciated the district administration’s efforts in closing the shandy to arrest the spread of the disease, they said that the shandy should be immediately reopened as the disease had been contained.

They said that the shandy accounts for the sale of about 4,000 cows, bulls, and buffaloes every week. The cattle are brought from places such as Karaikudi, Tiruchi, Karur, and Namakkal. “The farmers get an attractive price for their cattle as a large number of buyers assemble at the shandy,” said V. Shankar, one of the brokers.

The protestors said that apart from the farmers and brokers, the closure had affected the livelihood of labourers who largely rely on the trade. People selling grass and cattle feed, and workers who sharpen the horns of bulls and cows are jobless.

They said that their pleas to the district administration to reopen the shandy had not yielded the desired results forcing them to resort to the road blockade.

Police personnel led by Deputy Superintendent of Police Ganesan pacified the villagers following which they withdrew the agitation. A section of the farmers went up to the taluk office and impressed upon the revenue officials the need for lifting the ban on the shandy.

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