KATHMANDU: A few days ago, the government had made brave noises about procuring 6,000 goats from the districts outside the valley to cater to Kathmanduites’ needs for the Dashain. State-owned food agency huffed and puffed with all its might but to little avail. Only three days are left for the festival fever to begin, and it has managed to bring home just 490 goats.
A week ago, the government had claimed that there would be
no dearth of animals for sacrificial offerings.
NFC officials say such a supply crisis had never occurred before.
NFC deputy general manager and information officer Bijaya Dhoj Thapa admitted that it would not be possible to meet the target of 6,000 goats before Ghatasthapana — the first day of the Dashain — which falls on September 19.
“We found that majority of the villagers were unwilling to sell their goats. They said they preferred sacrificing the goats themselves. Earlier, remittances made sure they could spare their livestock for sale, but not anymore,” said Thapa, adding that it was a
Herculean task to find even 490 goats.
NFC has sent its officials to Dang, Nepalgunj and Lahan to procure goats. “We have to pool together the goats at any cost, otherwise the market will cash in on the shortage,” said Thapa.
As per Hindu tradition, uncastrated goats and other animals are essential for sacrificial offerings to appease Durga Bhawani. According to NFC, it bought goats for Rs 160 to 166 per kg depending on their size.
NFC’s Bagmati Zonal Office, which houses the goats for sale, said the goats would fetch around Rs 220 a kg. Unlike in the past, the Ministry of Commerce and Supply had announced it would not import herds of goats or flocks of sheep from Tibet this Dashain as the Tibetan authorities had put a price tag of around $100 (Rs 7,700) per goat, regardless of their weight.
The government’s decision to go back to villages for goats after a five-year hiatus is also a reason for the scarcity.