ISLAMABAD: Sacrificial animals in the cattle market set up in I-12 are being sold at high rates mainly because of the exorbitant entry fee being charged by the contractor for the entry of animals.
The market was auctioned for Rs71.2 million for 13 days.
Mahmood Hassan, a citizen, said because of the high prices he opted to purchase animals from I-11 where they were being sold on the basis of their weight.
The city’s largest sacrificial animal market is set up every year in I-12 where over 100,000 animals are brought from across the country, especially Punjab. The animal sellers in the market claimed that they had to pay Rs2,650 to the contractor for the big animals and Rs1,250 for small sacrificial animals.
Sellers say they have to pay Rs2,650 to bring big animals to the market and Rs1,250 for smaller animals
The Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI) had fixed Rs500 as entry fee for big and Rs250 for small animals. But the sellers said they were being charged more and not being given receipts for the entry fee.
An animal seller from Khushab, who brought eight animals, said: “Although I protested the high fee being charged by the contractor, I had no choice but to pay Rs16,000 as entry fee,” he said.
“That was not all, I even had to pay high fare to transport the animals to the market, the seller added.
Mohsin Hussain, a resident of Iqbal Town in Rawalpindi, said prices of animals in the market were very high.
“A 100 to 120 kg animal is being sold for over Rs100,000. There should be a mechanism to fix the prices,” he said.
“Today we did not buy an animal and will again visit the market in the coming days,” Mr Hussain said.
Sources in the MCI said the issue related to the high entry fees had come to the notice of the high-ups. They claimed that steps would be taken to ensure the contractor charged the officially fixed entry fee.
During the last three years, the auction of the cattle market has seen a significant increase. Last year, it was auctioned for Rs72 million and in 2016 for Rs45 million.
“The cattle market is a municipal service and should not be auctioned otherwise the citizens have to pay high rates for animals,” said Usman Khan, a resident of G-7.
He said prices of sacrificial animals were beyond the reach of the common man.
The contractor could not be contacted for comments but his staff claimed that they were not charging a high entry fee.
When contacted, Director Municipal Administration Zafar Iqbal said strict action would be taken against the contractor if it was established that high fee was being collected for the entry of animals.
“I will visit the market to check the issue,” he said, advising the sellers not to pay more than Rs500 which was the official entry fee for big animals and Rs250 for small animals.
Asked why the cattle market was being auctioned against high rates, he said the MCI can’t stop anyone from participating in the bidding process.
“As per rules, we are bound to entertain the higher bidder,” he said.
Published in Dawn, August 11th, 2018