Sale of sacrificial animals yet to pick momentum

High prices, bad weather conditions

LAHORE   -   Shah Pur Kanjran is a prominent cattle market in Lahore, bustling with activity as Eid-ul-Azha approaches. It is the largest cattle market in Pakistan, where over 20,000 animals are expected to be sold. Shah Pur Kanjran can accommodate over 20,000 animals during peak days, and nearly 3,000 traders from different cities are expected to participate. The Lahore Division Cattle Market Management Company oversees the market’s activities throughout the year, with anti-encroachment staff ensuring trading activities remain within designated areas. However, the market is not showing much activity as yet though animal traders from different areas are arriving in large numbers hoping for profitable sales. In addition to the main market, the district administration has set up 13 cattle markets and sale points in nine zones of the provincial capital, all of which are fully operational. Furthermore, 12 temporary markets have been established at various locations in Lahore. Muhammad Ismail, a trader from South Punjab, mentioned that small animals like goats are selling more compared to cows, bulls, and camels. He attributed this preference to the limited space most Lahore residents have for keeping large animals. Ismail also highlighted the impact of inflation, noting that the cost of caring for cattle and transporting them to the market has doubled from Rs 5,000 per animal last year to Rs 10,000 this year. Ismail expressed disappointment with the market’s response, stating that buyers are not meeting traders’ expectations, often leaving after bargaining without making a purchase. He noted that the highest price fetched for a goat so far was Rs 150,000, and he anticipated price hikes for bulls and goats in the coming days. A customer reported buying a large, attractive bull for Rs360,000, a high price for the beginning of the market. Shaukat Ali sold a bull for Rs180,000, considering it an average amount. He observed that the sale of large animals is slow, as most people prefer to buy them just a few days before Eid-ul-Azha. Ali mentioned that some traders are returning home with their animals due to low buyer turnout and inadequate facilities. Nazeer Ahmed, another frustrated trader, remarked that the market is failing to meet expectations, forcing many traders to return home without recouping their expenses. He said harsh weather conditions were also adding to difficulties of animal traders. Several traders complained about poor treatment by the land contractors, specifically mentioning issues with Zulqernain, the market supervisor. Muneer Ahmed, a cattle trader, reported that vehicle entry tickets cost Rs150, and exit fees, which have been increasing daily, reached Rs 900 recently. He criticized the lack of consistent rules and regulations enforced by the cattle management company. Another trader complained that when animals get ill, there are no medical facilities, and the sanitation conditions are also not good. However, Minister for Local Government Zeeshan Rafique had May 24th announced that medical camps will be set up for lumpy skin vaccines and Congo virus spray. He had also stated that holidays of officers and staff have been cancelled to ensure cleanliness.  Metropolitan Corporation official Syed Zaki stated, “We charge fees year-round as per the administration’s schedule for entry and exit. However, for Eid-ul-Azha, we have auctioned the spots, and they are charging traders based on their revenue targets. Our schedule includes charges of Rs1,000 for Mazda/Daala, Rs300 for Shehzor, and Rs150 for pickup vehicles.”

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