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SAHIWAL: Poor planning and lack of a comprehensive mobilisation plan for butchers were among the main reasons for failure of three meat markets in the city which are lying vacant for the last three years and only a few butchers opted to shift their business there.

After a passage of three years, all the butchers have returned to their original places except a couple of them who are still working in each of these markets while the rest have moved out as they had no customers in their new shops.

Data says there are still 598 meat shops in the city, including 400 of chicken, 110 of mutton, 77 of beef and 11 of fish meat. They are spread to different localities of city.

In 2010, the Punjab government made a plan to set up meat markets to bring all the butchers together in special markets and the district government was given the task to do survey and select the places and construct meat markets there.

The Punjab government spent Rs25.5m on construction of meat markets.

The TMA constructed meat markets until July 2011, having hygienic conditions and facilities like proper supply of water and electricity. These markets were constructed at three places, Farid Town, Tariq Bin Ziyad Colony and Model Bazaar, Railway Road. Around 200 shops were built which were to be handed over to butchers of city.

Muhammad Bilal, who sells mutton at Pull Bazaar, says he had shifted to meat market at Model Bazaar but there were no customers and had had to return to his old shop.

Muhammad Shahbaz, who sells meat in a rented shop in Farid Town meat market, says he had shifted there to 2012 because he had no shop and he is the only one left in Farid Town market.

“I have to stay here because I have no shop,” he says, asking why a butcher would shift to the TMA’s meat market by leaving his decade old customers.

Abdul Waheed, a butcher in Tariq Bin Ziyad market, says he is the only one who is still selling meat here while all others have left for their original places.

Khalid Billu, Butcher at Ghala Mandi, president Mutton Seller Association, Sahiwal, says both the district and tehsil administrations have no plans to run the meat markets. His views are also shared by Ch Yousaf, president of the Beef Association.

A TMA employee, associated with the meat market plan, says the meat markets were developed by the district government and later handed over to the TMA which did not know how to attract butchers to these new places.

Dawn talked to many officials of the district government and the TMA who were close to this development but none of them could give reply to the question that what would happen to the meat markets when the butchers were not doing business there. The real question is that who is responsible for failure of a meat market developed with the taxpayer’s money.

Published in Dawn January 12th , 2014

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