RAWALPINDI, Sept 5: Rawalpindi cantonment authorities on Wednesday requested the commissioner to allow butchers from the cantonment to use the slaughterhouse under the administrative control of Rawal Town Municipal Administration (RTMA).

However, a senior RTMA official, on condition of anonymity, said it would be difficult to accommodate butchers from the cantonment due to limited space.

“The slaughterhouse is meant for butchers from the city and not cantonment,” he added.

The new slaughterhouse on Railway Road near Pori Pul (pedestrian bridge over railway lines) started functioning last month. The project was launched about four years ago by former railway minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, and work on it completed in June this year at a cost of Rs40 million.

The former minister provided the funds and railway land on rent to RTMA for the construction of the slaughterhouse.

“The cantonment authorities did not spend any money on the project, and now they want to use it,” said the RTMA official, adding that the civic body would have to re-auction the contract if the cantonment authorities pressurised it.

Rawalpindi and Chaklala cantonment boards president and Station Commander Brig Zaman Nasarullah Khan Niazi on Wednesday called Commissioner Imdadullah Bosal and sought his help in allowing the butchers from the cantonment areas to use the slaughterhouse.

The cantonment authorities wanted to close the Lalkurti slaughterhouse for security reasons and instead use the one in the city.

Upon this, the commissioner immediately directed the RTMA to make arrangements for accommodating cantonment areas butchers, however, the RTMA officials opposed the idea and informed the commissioner that the slaughterhouse was meant for city areas and had been constructed on the land provided by Pakistan Railways. They further said the RTMA was paying Rs150,000 rent for the slaughterhouse.

They said the civic body planned to utilise the vacant land at the slaughterhouse to set up a cattle pen and would not change its plan just on the pressure of the cantonment authorities.

It may be mentioned here that the provincial government had established a slaughterhouse in Sihala for Rawalpindi cantonment, city and Islamabad. But, most people did not utilise it properly as it was far from the residential areas.

Cantonment butchers are using the slaughterhouse in Lalkurti and streets of the inner cantonment areas to slaughter their animals. The RCB and CCB authorities failed to stop the illegal slaughtering on the streets.

On the other hand, All Pakistan Jamiatul Quresh Association Rawalpindi chapter President and contractor of the slaughterhouse Chaudhry Ishaq told Dawn that it was not possible to accommodate butchers of cantonment areas as at present, 3,000 to 3,500 goats and sheep were slaughtered daily there, and if the cantonment areas butchers also started using the facility, the number of goats and sheep would rise to 6,000.

“The slaughterhouse will not be able to accommodate so many animals and would create problem of sanitation,” he said.

At present 60 per cent butchers used the facility while the remaining 40 per cent slaughter the animals at their own places.

“We are trying to bring all of them to the slaughterhouse, and they will start coming in the next two or three days. Therefore there would be not enough space for the cantonment areas butchers,” he added.

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