RE - Owing to more than 80 per cent increase in the prices of sacrificial animals, all the sale points are yet to witness traditional rush of customers usually observed few days before Eidul Azha. Though hundreds of goat, sheep, cows and camels have been brought into the City but flow of sacrificial animals has failed to attract a reasonable crowd of customers so far. Price of an average goat having weight around 20 kg to 25 kg varies from Rs 18,000 to Rs 22,000 against Rs 10,000 to Rs 12,000 the last year. A cow of 40 to 60 kg is costing Rs 40,000 to Rs 55,000 while a cow of the same weight was sold out from Rs 35,000 to 45,000 the last year. Price of an average camel is Rs 50,000 to Rs 70,000. Traders are demanding these prices when only six days have been left in Eid. However, the market trend manifests that surge in the prices may go higher.
A survey conducted by this scribe revealed that various factors had contributed to the high prices of the sacrificial animals - lack of animal farming and animal husbandry, smuggling of animals to the neighbouring countries and export of livestock. Other reasons that multiplied the prices of the sacrificial animals are inflation rate, increase in input price, transportation charges and a number of illegal taxes being taken from traders as extortion by the middlemen and town staff. According to the survey it was noticed that prices of the animals were different at the sale points designated by the CDGL including Bund Road Shahdara, Sabzazaar, Jallo, Baghbanpura, Chungi Amar Sadhu, Mutlan Road, Bhati Chowk, Badami Bagh, Sanda, Karim Park, Ravi Road, Shadbagh and Baboo Sabu.
A trader, Molla Burkh at Sadar, told The Nation that the cost of feed, labour and animal breeding had pushed the prices to higher level. He apprehended the profit margin would be less on this Eid. Another trader, Gul Sher, said the animal prices were high because of the expenses being incurred on fodder, transportation and medical treatment.
Interestingly the cows' share-sacrifice is also turning to be costly as each share costs minimum Rs5,000 which was Rs3,000 last year. "We will take share in the collective sacrifice of cow and arrangements for it are being made by the management of our mosque," Muhammad Ahmed, resident of Garhi Shahu said. He further said now cow's collective sacrifice was not less costly than goat or sheep due to recent surge in the price-hike. "An average cow is costing Rs40,000 to Rs50,000 on this Eid. If it is divided among seven persons it will cost Rs5,000 to each of the seven participants". Two years back a small sized goat or sheep could be purchased of Rs5,000 and majority of the people preferred goat instead of collective sacrifice of cow or buffalo.
The live stock department revealed it was estimated that around 1.5 million heifers, 1 million goats and 0.7 million camels would be needed to fulfil the sacrificial demand of the people in City but it would be difficult for the livestock traders to meet the requirement due to the lack of fodder and husbandry facilities and illegal smuggling of animals. Data available in the live stock department disclosed that at least 7,000 goats, 10,000 cows, heifers and buffaloes were slaughtered daily in the City's slaughter houses and this was also one of the hurdles in the supply of required number of sacrificial animals.
The department spokesman Dr Israr Ahmed said all the sale point of sacrificial animals had been equipped with basic infrastructure. Facilities of lighting, tents, removal of waste and free medial treatment were being provided to the sacrificial animals, he added.
He said 11 service centres had been established in this regard and one doctor and two veterinary assistants would be available to attend the animals.