ISLAMABAD-After getting a low bid in two consecutive attempts as compared to last year, the Mayor of Islamabad Shaikh Anser Aziz has principally approved to allow ‘free cattle markets’ in the capital city.

However, final decision in this regards will be taken in an urgent session of Metropolitan Corporation, Islamabad, which has been called on Monday.

Islamabad’s largest market for sacrificial animals is set up in I-12 every year. It receives more than 100,000 animals from various areas. In routine, MCI auctions selected sites in the city for establishment of cattle markets on the eve of Eid-ul-Azha against a lump sum payment while successful bidder collects fee from the vendors and buyers by his own.

This year, the city manager got lukewarm response to the cattle market as they received the highest bid of Rs56.1 million, lower than the last year’s contract for Rs71.2m.

In first two days during the bidding process held in the last week of July, the Directorate of Municipal Administration received the highest bid of Rs56 million which could not be accepted according to rules because it was lower than the contract awarded in the preceding year.

The MCI had two options either to award the contract and face an audit objection or run the facility by its own. However, it had decided to invite the bids again but the bidding process concluded on Thursday could not bring good news for city managers as the highest bid for I-12 remained at Rs56.1 million only.

According to sources, after long deliberations, the Mayor Sheikh Ansar Aziz decided in principle to allow free cattle market this year in Islamabad but at designated areas.

To avoid legal implications as the matter involves loss of millions of rupees to public exchequer, Aziz has decided to ratify his decision from the house of the MCI, which has been called on Monday.

Some MCI officials informed the Nation that the DMA was authorised to run cattle markets and there would not be an entry fee for animals. “Setting up cattle markets is a social service. Since we received lower bids, so we are going to leave the cattle market open to all. No money will be received,” Director DMA Shafi Marwat said.

He said that they would provide the designated area only while rest of the facilities would be arranged by the vendors on their own cost.

Sources claimed that though the MCI had invited criticism over losing some financial gains but the buyers would defiantly get some relief from the decision as they will not have to pay extra amount on their sacrificial animals.

They argued that this could not be considered as revenue loss because it was a social service and cited the example from previous government of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz in which the former Interior Minister Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan had managed to wave off toll tax being collected on the entry points of Islamabad.