LAHORE:As Eidul Azha is just a couple of days ahead, the sale and purchase of sacrificial animals is yet to gain momentum in the provincial capital due to the sky-rocketing prices of sacrificial animals, which have reached beyond the purchasing limits of the general public.
Majority of citizens visiting cattle markets established by the CDGL said they can’t purchase an animal due to their high prices while some attributed this price-hike with the avarice of animal sellers.
A visit to different cattle markets showed that majority of sellers of sacrificial animals are demanding very high rates as there is no price regulatory mechanism introduced by the city government.
On an average over 500,000 sacrificial animals are slaughtered in the city on every Eidul Azha and out of the total number of sacrificial animals around 350,000 were smalls animals i.e. goats and sheep while the rest of them were big animals, like cows, calves, camels, etc.
A visit to different sale points revealed that the price of a normal size goat/sheep/lamb ranges from Rs40,000 to Rs45,000 whereas a cow/calf from Rs75,000 to Rs120,000. On the other hand, sellers of sacrificial animals said that main reason behind high prices of animals are increased transportation costs as well as increase in prices of animal fodder.
Jehangir Ali, a calf seller from DG Khan, said that rise in transportation charges, cost of animal breeding and bribe collected by the police and officials of various departments led to the increase in the animal prices. He alleged that police had charged him Rs300 per animal in the name of Eidi at every picket on his way from DG Khan to Lahore.
Saleem Bajwa, a goat seller from Pakpattan said the price of green fodder had gone up by 50 percent in comparison with the previous year while fare of a truck from Pakpattan to Lahore also increased by 100 percent. “I can’t sell my animals on loss,” he said adding he was thinking of going back home as customer’s response was not very good at the moment. The most affected of the high prices of sacrificial animals are the salaried and low income groups of the society who thought that they will probably not be able to perform this religious ritual due to high prices of the sacrificial animals this year. Majority of the citizens visiting animal markets demanded the district government to regulate the prices of sacrificial animals; otherwise, there was no point in making specific animal sale points where city government was giving different kind of facilities to the sellers.
Officials of City government said the DC Lahore also issued SOPs for the sale and purchase points, which including secured entry and exit points, ramps for loading/unloading of animals, drinking water for visitors/animals, fodder places for small/large animals along with fodder-cutter, animal sheds and seating place for visitors, masjid, public toilets, veterinary and human dispensary, complaint office/site office, canteen/restaurant, parking place, boundary wall/barbed fencing, animal washing area, directional boards, weighting bridge (Scale), information centre, generators, CCTV cameras, public address system, electronic display system/market information desk, security guards, name of focal person/incharge of mandi, contact number of focal person, decoration and beautification, lighting arrangements and installation of ATM machines.
Babu Shah, a resident of Gulshan-e-Ravi, said that prices of animals have increased but the income of majority of citizens was the same. “White-collar citizens are facing the real dilemma as they wanted to buy the animal for their religious obligation but could not afford it,” he maintained.
Many citizens also believed that the high prices of sacrificial animals may come down in coming days because the sellers will not want to take back their animals. “Presently, the sellers are demanding high prices, especially of goats and lambs,” said Hamza, a resident of Shadman. He said last year the situation was same and he bought two goats on Chand Raat at low rates.
On the other hand, City government had notified fixed sale and purchase points for sacrificial animals in all the nine towns of the provincial capital but one can witness sale of sacrificial animals inside the city as well as on the roads.
Following the event, citizens have also started booking butchers who are also demanding very high rates. Citizens said butchers are demanding Rs7,000 to Rs9,000 per goat/lamb/sheep and Rs20,000 to Rs25,000 per cow while Rs45,000 to Rs60,000 for a camel.
Many people were also using social media for sale and purchase of sacrificial animals while many big grocery stores and meat selling companies have also introduced Eid packages in which they are offering different deals to attract customers.