Camel mela brings bounty to Siddhpur civic body

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Palanpur, Gujarat, Nov 27 (UNI) The biggest camel fair ended at Siddhpur, 29 km form here, with 2,000 camels and 200 high-bred horses being the main attraction in the three-day-long ''mela''.

High-bred horses, including Akas, Raj, Sejal, Kajal, and Labhu, costing Rs two to six lakh, were the main attraction.

According to Siddhpur Municipal Chief Officer Jigar Patel, the civic body could get about 15 lakh as tax collection based on the total transaction on camels and horses. However exact figure is difficult to ascertain as the animals' exhibition was held outside the jurisdiction of the municipality, Mr Patel said.

''However the total turnover of the three-day long exhibiton is estimated Rs three to four crore,'' Mr Patel said yesterday.

According to a camel merchant Gulab Sayan Sindhi from Bijarad in Rajasthan, ''It is the only mela that attracts people from far off places from the state and also from outside.'' Explaining the breed of the animal he said, ''Animals too have to bear the brunt of the commercialisation. Gone are the days when camels were specially trained for warfare and riding pleasure'' ''Horses have kept up the tradition. A dancing horse of Heer, Budli, Tajan, Marwari or Manki ranges between Rs one to Rs six lakh,'' said Azamalbhai, a horse trainer.

A stylish white stud Labhu could not get its match because its trainer Ramesh Rathod was not prepared to bring down the mating cost below Rs 8000.

''I am helpless. My master has fixed the cost of mating,'' said Ramesh. Parabhudas from Unjha said, ''The mating cost was too high to afford.'' ''Sugarcane, another attraction at the 'mela' is sold in abundance. Sugarcanes have a religious importance and are sold worth about millions of rupees, If one doesn't carry the sugar back home it is taken as bad omen,'' said the chief officer.

UNI

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