LAHORE – SALMAN ABDUHU - The ban imposed by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government on export of animals has miserably failed to stabilise their prices in the country, and the prices of sacrificial animals have increased by almost one-third despite their sale and purchase being exempted from all types of taxes by the City District Government Lahore (CDGL).

With just a day left in Eidul Azha, the six sale points of sacrificial animals set up in the City are yet to witness much activity of the potential buyers. Though a large number of citizens are visiting these sale points, the vast majority are leaving empty-handed because an average sheep or goat is not available for less than Rs25,000-35,000; while light weight ones are being sold for Rs17,000-22,000.

Although the purchase and sale of sacrificial animals have been exempted from all types of taxes by the CDGL, this incentive has so far failed to attract the buyers, animal dealers claim. Traders could be seen demanding much higher prices than the previous year, as much as Rs45,000-100,000 for good-sized animals.

The rates of bulls and cows are also on the higher side, ranging from Rs55,000 to Rs250,000 based on their look, weight and breed. A medium-sized bull or cow is being sold for Rs50,000-75,000; while a bigger animal for Rs80,000-200,000. Apparently, the buyers are waiting for reduction in the prices of sacrificial animals. Many of them have opted for collective sacrifice where a group of people pool in money to buy a sacrificial animal.

The animal dealers allege that despite the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government’s ban on export of animals, their smuggling to Afghanistan is on the rise. Moreover, thousands of cattle perished in recent floods in different parts of the country. ”However, the most important reason for the increase in the prices of sacrificial animals is inflation, which has escalated the prices of almost everything from the prices of animal feed to those of petroleum products,” they add.

Many people told TheNation that the prices of sacrificial animals are out of their reach. Believing that animal dealers had created an artificial price-hike, they seemed inclined to opt for a collective sacrifice. However, some of them still expect the rates of sacrificial animals to come down on the eve of Eid.

The animal dealers, on the other hand, say that they were expecting a huge business on this Eidul Azha, but most of the visitors left after just asking the prices.

They complain that the CDGL has set up the six sale points of sacrificial animals in far-flung areas of the City, causing a huge inconvenience to the potential buyers.

The sale points have been established by the CDGL at Saggian Bridge, Shahpur Kanjran, LDA Avenue-I, Quaid-e-Azam Interchange, GT Road and China Scheme.

The animal dealers further complain that the government has not provided free-of-cost transport to facilitate the buyers like the previous year.

 To maintain cleanliness, the government has imposed Section 144 and warned the animal dealers not to do business outside the designated sale points, but violation is rampant in several areas of the City. Despite repeated warnings, the animal dealers have set up private sale points on busy roads and in populated areas of the City, hindering vehicular traffic and creating problems for both town administrations and the masses.