KARACHI - Disappointed by the skyrocketing rates of sacrificial animals, particularly in the cattle market located at Super Highway, people have at last surrendered before the cattle traders.

Scores of frustrated people are seen loitering in the said market like a lost cow due to irrational demands of the traders even for an ordinary animal, revealed a survey conducted by The Nation on Monday.

Talking about the reason for price hike, the traders said it was due to sharp increase in transport fares, while excessive charges on account of space, water, light and others in the cattle market were other reasons.

They said it was already anticipated that rates of sacrificial animals would surge as transportation charges for bringing cattle from different parts of the country to Karachi had increased manifold.  The traders said that the administration had charged Rs1400 from them for the entry of each head of cattle in the market. “We have been forced to purchase water for our animals at the cost of Rs10 per litre as the administration has failed to make arrangements for the purpose,” they told this scribe.

Traders, sharing details with The Nation, said that the market administration had done nothing for them. “We have waited in queues to get just five litre of water for each animal whereas the daily demand for each animal is more than 10 liters of water,” they complained.

An administrator of the cattle market, however, repudiated these allegations, and added that administration had not increased the charges as the current charges were similar to those introduced last year.

“As many as Rs1400 are being charged for the entry of each cow in the market and Rs400 for a goat,” he said, and claimed that the administration had provided the facilities of medication, electricity, water and ambulance service against these charges. “We have also prepared a ramp for loading animals for which Rs200 are fixed for each animal,” the administrator informed.

Another administrator of Cattle Market Irshad Hussain said the administration had also put a check on those vendors, especially water sellers, who are involved in overcharging. “The administration has also handed over many vendors to the police who were charging extra amounts from those buying water,” he told this scribe.

A office-bearer of the market said that an average price of a cow, weighing between 120kg to 160kg, was between Rs55,000 and Rs65,000 while a normal goat was being sold between Rs30,000 to 35,000. He admitted that prices were exorbitant, but added that many people were still buying the animals.

Talking about the VIP Block at the cattle market, he said that some vendors had just set up camps for their brand’s projection. “However these camps are not meant for the sale and purchase of cattle,” he clarified.

He said that around 0.3 million sacrificial cows had been registered with the Super Highway cattle market, while 75,000 goats were also part of this registration. “More than 2,000 camels are also registered in the market,” he informed.

“All sacrificial animals are being transported to the market from different parts of the country, including Thatta, Larkana, Rahim Yar Khan, Bahawalpur and Multan,” he added.

The administrator further said that the main reason for price hike was increase in the fares of logistic services, which, he added, had badly affected the animal trade. “The transportation costs have been jumped up from Rs80, 000 to Rs90, 000 per trailer, as compared to the last year,” he told. Unjustified increased in the fares of transportation was a major reason in the soaring prices of animals.  

Animal trader, Hadi Buksh said that the merchants had no hand in the inflated prices. “We buy them at high prices, so we are compelled to sell them at expensive rates,” he said. 

Another animal trader Nazir Siyal, while controlling a cow with the help of a rope, said he bought the animal from Punjab. He said he would charge Rs10, 000 over the cow’s original price as it took him five days to bring the animal from Punjab to Karachi due to transportation issues. “I have no other way to recover the transportation charges, except to increase the price,” he argued.

According to some customers, the price hike is the direct result of greedy traders wanting to exploit the Eid season and other special occasions to make quick gains. Customers believe that the traders were taking advantage of the season and fleecing them blind. “The government is silent while animal dealers are looting people with both hands,” said Muhammad Arsalan. 

Another buyer, Zain Haider said that sellers were taking advantage of their urgency. “Sellers know that people have to buy animals since it’s compulsory for wealthy Muslim families to sacrifice an animal on Eid.”