Rawalpindi : With only two days left for the Eid-ul-Azha, the buyers flocking cattle markets in Rawalpindi are left with little option, but to return home without buying sacrificial animals.
Residents, who arrived here at Bhatta Chowk sale point along with their jubilant children, told this agency on Sunday that the animal sellers were demanding exorbitant prices which were beyond their purchasing power.
Ghais Haider, a buyer at the market, said last year he purchased a small goat of 25 kilograms against Rs30,000, but now the same animal was being sold at up to Rs60,000 which showed that the rate of sacrificial animal had gone up by 100 per cent.
Riaz Abbasi, another buyer, at Adiala Road market said the rates of goats, sheep, buffalos and cows were inflated, forcing the people to go home empty hands.
He said buffalos and cows of 160 kilograms, which were available at no more than Rs120,000 last year, were being sold up to Rs200,000 this year.
Riaz called upon the district administration to take steps to save the public from fleecing of sellers.
When contacted President Jamiat Ul Quresh Pakistan Khursheed Ahmed Qureshi, he said the major cause of the increase in prices of animals was due to demand and supply gap.
He informed this agency that animals production had witnessed a steep decline during the previous years as the departments concerned had failed to adopt a comprehensive policy to boost production of halal meat, resulting in Rs400 per kg increase in mutton prices and Rs300 per kg in beef prices during the last one year.
Giving details about online shopping of sacrificial animals, Qureshi, who is also a member of the Board of Directors of Livestock and Dairy Development Directorate, said that the online shopping of sacrificial had reached up to 70 per cent due to the Covid-19 pandemic, adding the people were preferring online platforms.
He said the use of online platforms to purchase sacrificial animals could also be another reason for small crowds at the cattle markets, adding online companies offering a goat of 14 kg at Rs32,000 and 14 kg of share in cows or buffaloes at Rs15,000. Wasif Chaudhry, a calf seller from Rajanpur said, the rise in transportation charges, cost of animal breeding and bribes collected by the police and officials of various departments led to the increase in the animal prices.
On the other hand, the owners of the sacrificial animal have decorated their animals with colourful ornaments to attract the people.
Mushtaq, a vendor said, this time prices were higher than last year because of high rates of feed, vaccination, and transportation.
According to a market survey, vendors are leaving a narrow bargaining margin for the buyers.
They are acting as a cartel by keeping the prices of low-weight goats at Rs35,000 to Rs45,000. For a pair of goats, they demand Rs65,000 to Rs85,000. The animal sellers are charging higher prices for goats keeping in view the rising red meat prices in the current year.
A seller said they inject medicine to protect their animals from malaria and fever since the disease kills more of their animals than the Congo virus.
Meanwhile, the authorities concerned of district government and cantonments, have been directed to ensure that there would be no illegal sale/purchase of sacrificial animals in other parts of the city and cantonment areas except the approved sites, which were auctioned for temporary municipal cattle markets.
The authorities have also been directed to ensure effective monitoring for charging the prescribed entry fee for all kinds of sacrificial animals so that the people could buy the sacrificial animals of their choice without any hassle at the temporary municipal cattle markets.
The administration had set up 10 cattle markets in Rawalpindi district including three at Bhatta Chowk, Adiala Road and Chakri Road in Rawalpindi city areas.
Municipal Corporation Rawalpindi (MCR) and Cantonment Board authorities had imposed a ban on the entry of sacrificial animals in the city and cantonment areas.
Under the ban, the sale and purchase of the animals had been restricted on the occasion of Eidul Azha.
The decision was taken to maintain cleanliness and avoid waste pollution in the city, said an MCR spokesman.
The administration on the directives of Deputy Commissioner (DC) Rawalpindi Aamir Aqiq Khan, had set up 10 approved cattle markets for Eidul Azha.
In Rawalpindi, cattle markets of sacrificial animals were set up at Bhatta Chowk near Koh-e-Noor Mills Rawalpindi Cantonment, Punjab Cooperative Housing Society Adiala Road and Chakri Road near Al-Haram City.
Gujar Khan cattle market was set up near Domeli Bridge while the sale point of sacrificial animals of Murree Tehsil is near Lower Bazar Murree.
Kalar Syedan Mandi was set up at Mangle bypass, he added.
Similarly, Kotli Sattian sale point of sacrificial animals is near Chovera Bazaar near Rescue-1122 office and Kahuta cattle market is near Tanki Road near Chan Shah, Kahuta.
Taxila and Wah Cantt cattle markets are set up at G.T. Road Wah Cantt near Sharif Hospital Stop, HIT Taxila, Sunday Bazar Timber Market Road and POF near Wah Cantt.
He advised the citizens that on the occasion of Eid-ul-Azha, all possible precautionary measures should be adopted to avoid Corona and Congo viruses.
To protect the citizens from the Congo virus, clean the markets as well as ensure the health and hygiene of the animals, he said.
The administration had restricted free movement of sacrificial animals inside the city so that it could properly spray the animals at the entry points to ensure their protection from Congo virus.
The administration has directed the officials of livestock department to set up camps at all entry points to spray the animals against the tick.
The teams of livestock department would also continue anti-Congo spray in and at main entries of the cattle markets.
Rawalpindi Cantonment Board (RCB) allowed the contractor to set up a temporary cattle market in Bhatta Chowk and imposed a ban on sale and purchase of sacrificial animals in all other cantonment areas.
Authorities concerned had been directed to strictly implement standard operating procedures (SOPs) to contain the spread of coronavirus.
Strict action was being taken against vendors found violating the orders besides imposing heavy fine and confiscating animals, a RCB spokesman said.
“RCB had launched a grand operation against illegal animal markets and would take strict action in accordance with the law against the violators, he added.