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August 21, 2018

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Knife sharpening business picks up ahead of Eidul Azha

PESHAWAR: Mumtaz Lohar, a 60-year-old blacksmith, checks carefully the blades of the new knives he has forged in his shop in Ramdas Bazaar in the city as customers wait for him.

Mumtaz makes new knives and also repairs the old ones. Nowadays many customers visit his shop to buy knives to slaughter the sacrificial animals on Eidul Azha, which is fast approaching.

The sale of knives and other accessories is at its peak as the religious festival is just around the corner. Mumtaz is happy with the boom in his business during the past several days. “A good number of customers visit my shop daily and buy new knives and axes for Eidul Azha,” he added.

He said that he had permanent customers who often visit and buy knives and other farming tools from him. “I have been making knives, axes, sickles and other farming tools for the past 40 years,” he said.

He said that his daily sales had gone from Rs10,000 to Rs15,000. “I, my two sons and a daily wager are working till late at night to meet the demands,” he added. The blacksmith said that he had doubled the payment to the daily wager working with him for the past several years.

“I pay him Rs1,000 daily for extra work. The sale is good for the past several days and I want to share the profit with him so he works with more concentration,” he added. Mumtaz is not happy with the vendors who have set up temporary stalls on footpaths in front of various shops and selling “substandard” knives at a low price.

“They sell a knife for Rs100 to Rs150 but we sell the same for Rs250. Customers come and ask the price and then return and purchase the substandard blades from the footpath vendors. Ordinary people can’t differentiate between a low and a good quality knife and the opportunists are taking advantage of the situation and selling their low-quality knives and axes,” he added.

He said that the business usually remained low in routine and they only made and sharpened sickles, spades, forks, hoes and other farming tools. “We only make Rs1,000 to Rs1,200 in routine,” he said.

Alamzeb Khan, another blacksmith, said that people visited his shop in large number and bought knives and other related tools. He said that his daily sale was up to Rs35,000. “I hired two daily wagers to make more knives to meet the increasing demand. The people also bring their blunt knives to sharpen them,” he added.

The blacksmith said he charged Rs20 for sharpening a knife and Rs50 for an axe. Alamzeb and other blacksmiths were not happy with the long hours of loadshedding, which they said was affecting their business.

“We work till late night due to the excessive load of work and power outages to meet the demand. These are limited days to make profits but the power cuts are a big problem and affecting our business,” he complained.

Ihsanullah Khan was satisfied with the sales but complained about the high prices of iron and electricity. He said that they paid Rs25 per unit tariff and heavy shop rents, which resulted in an increase in prices of various tools.

“We also pay Rs500 to daily wagers. These expenses result in a decrease in profits. The government should reduce the electricity tariff to allow the business to recover and flourish,” he added.

A roadside vendor, Ghani Lohar, a resident of Daudzai area on the outskirts of Peshawar, said that he earned up to Rs7,000 daily. “My shop is in the village but I have come here and selling knives and other tools for the past one week to make some extra profit,” he added.

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