KARACHI: Conditions at the cattle mandi off the Superhighway further deteriorated on Wednesday when floodwater — after affecting several villages, Saadi Town and a part of the Karachi-Hyderabad Motorway in the aftermath of rains — made its way into the makeshift market.
Described as one of the largest cattle markets in the region, the annual market is currently housing around 200,000 sacrificial animals, the majority of which have been brought from the interior of Sindh and Punjab.
Speaking to Dawn on the phone, a number of cattle traders, who were reluctant to share their identities as the market is organised by the Malir Cantonment Board, said that they had been battling rains on their own and the administration hadn’t offered any assistance.
Around 200,000 sacrificial animals brought to market so far
“We are draining out water ourselves as the administration’s attention is focused only on some VVIP blocks,” said a trader who has brought over 100 animals from Hyderabad, adding that the floodwater had affected spaces allotted for goats and traders were shifting their animals to elevated sections of the market.
‘No loss of livestock’
Upon contact, the market administration stated that the floodwater affected only one block allotted and there was no damage or loss of livestock.
“The market area is spread over 900 acres and the floodwater affected only one block with 2,000 to 3,000 small animals. All of them were moved to safer parts of the market and the situation normalised later in the afternoon,” Ali Imran Junior representing the media cell of the market administration said.
A red alert had been issued a week ago and the administration was fully engaged to improve market conditions, he added.
A visit to the market on Tuesday showed the place dotted with pools of muddy water and administration efforts seemed insufficient to handle the destruction caused by two days of rain spell.
Traders seemed worried about their animals which, they said, had been standing for the past two days as no dry soil was left for them to rest. They urged the administration to let their vehicles carrying soil in for free.
Complaints about water being sold at high prices were rampant at the market which, they said, didn’t facilitate traders who were charged by the administration under different heads including the entry fee that had been raised to Rs1,600 per big animal this year.
“We come here only because we are in a business of raising animals that most of us love to do. There is no other opportunity where we can showcase our animals and get to see a diverse range of buyers,” a trader from Badin said.
Traders Dawn spoke to claimed that their animals were vaccinated against major diseases and had no threat to fall ill in the monsoon season. And, contrary to what most buyers were expecting, the season won’t affect animal prices that would remain at the higher side.
Replying to concerns raised by traders, Raja Adnan Aziz, deputy administrator, said that teams were working round the clock to provide services to traders and visitors.
“We are providing 16 litres of water free to traders. Besides, most traders have gotten spaces for their animals for free and only those have been charged who got spaces in the front blocks,” he explained, adding that electricity was also being supplied to the market which had full security.
The administration was not charging entry fee on vehicles bringing in soil in the market, he said.
Published in Dawn, August 1st, 2019