islamabad - The sacrificial cattle market established in Sector I-12 could brought no relief to the citizens and animal traders like previous year, as both are complaining of higher prices and non-availability of facilities at the venue, The Nation learned on Saturday.

The market established on an entire sector was auctioned for above Rs71 million and the animal sellers were assured of the best facilities for bringing their animals for 2 weeks time.

However, the disorganised demarcation of the areas to set the camps of animals, dilapidated roads, unclean environment and the dust everywhere tell the story that nothing had changed here.

The animal sellers and the customers are seen keeping their cards close to their chest and bargaining on the prices of the animals. “Rs35,000 is too much high for this goat,” a customer, Usman, argued with the cattle trader, wearing traditional ‘dhoti kurta’ of south Punjab and smoking ‘huqqa’ during the bargain. “I cannot sell below this price as I paid taxes in the market and travelled from Layyah,” he replied to the customer.

The deal was not finalised and Usman again put his mask, which he purchased from the market to keep himself safe from breathing the dust.  

The contractor has set-up his camp right on the main entrance of the market and is keeping hawk eye on all traders so that no one could escape the tax, which includes entry and exit fees and the area acquired for setting the animals in the camp.

Heavy vehicles including trucks, trolleys and vans are seen entering into the market as Eid-ul-Azha is fast approaching. The animals including camels, goats, sheep and bulls are being transported to the market.

The sector from every corner is looking filled, with large water proof camps but still animals are being transported in. “We can roughly estimate that around 100,000 animals will be brought to the market this year,” said Sajjad, giving entry slips to cattle traders.

The Municipal Corporation Islamabad (MCI) this year fixed the entry fee at Rs500 for big while Rs250 for small animals which include goats and sheep.

But, number of traders complained that the contractor is charging more than the fixed rates and they were charged almost double then the rate given.

Hamid Ali is a cattle trader from Chakwal and has set up a large camp of cattle including 20 bulls and a dozen goats; it’s his fourth term in this market and for him nothing has changed. “Not even the rates, average price of bull is Rs80,000 and goat is at Rs30,000; it’s the same as previous year and during the last 2 days, the business will increase,” he said.

He also said that the issues of electricity, non-availability of water and other facilities all are same here. “Contractor has to earn his money in the 2 weeks, so why he will think of facilities,” said Hamid.

He said that instead of the described amount, Rs250, he had to pay Rs700 per goat, other than Rs143 per square yard space.

The water for animals is provided twice a day and traders rush towards the tanker with their buckets; a queue is formed and they store water for their use. “No one thinks of improving the system in the cattle market,” he said. He said that the trader has no other way of earning the profit than selling his sacrificial animals on lesser rates.

Traders from Pothohar region, Central and South Punjab and also from Sindh thronged the federal capital to sell sacrificial animals. 

This federal capital cattle market gained significance because of attractive profit the traders earn from here. They believe the resident from Islamabad/Rawalpindi have good purchasing power.

Sacrificial animals including goats, lambs, and camels were seen in thousands from the link road to far away in the sectors. Waseem Ahmed, a local resident, was also not comfortable with exorbitant prices and arrangements at the cattle market. “I came with Rs24,000 to buy a goat but no deal could be made so far; the price starts from Rs30,000”, he said. He said that the MCI should think of customer service and keep check to regulate the prices, otherwise; there is no reason for establishing such market.

“If such settlements cannot facilitate a citizen, then what is the reason for establishing them”, he said.

Waseem mentioned another option that he will search the animal in nearby villages like he did previous year and purchased an animal on reasonable price.

Few veterinary camps have been also established in the market but the trader himself had to bring his animal for the vaccination, but no medical camp for humans could be noticed. 

The National Institute of Health (NIH) recently issued an advisory regarding preventing the Congo Virus during animal contact. But the veterinary camp being run by 3 officials did not look to be capable to cope with the disease if it broke out.

“There is no chance of any viral disease, and we check the animal when it is brought to the camp,” said a veterinary official.

A representative from the contractor’s team in the market, Azeem, said that the contract had been awarded in more than Rs70 million this year which, he said, is very high price.

He also claimed that the contractor had arranged 40 tankers and 35 generators to provide electricity and water 24 hours to the traders. He also said that no overcharging was being done; the traders are only confused with the rate of Rs143 per square yard being charged for the acquired space.