Multan Road remains blocked for several hours: Covid-19 SOPs make cattle trading troublesome

Updated 16 Jul 2020

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MULTAN Road blocked after traders unloaded their animals on the busy thoroughfare. — White Star / Murtaza Ali
MULTAN Road blocked after traders unloaded their animals on the busy thoroughfare. — White Star / Murtaza Ali

LAHORE: Multan Road remained blocked for several hours on Wednesday after the authorities stopped the entrance of trucks carrying sacrificial animals to Shahpur Kanjran Mandi.

The situation forced traders to unload their sacrificial animals and enter the cattle market on foot.

“We’ve been standing here by the roadside since midnight as we are not being allowed into Shahpur Kanjran,” Safdar from Sahiwal, a trader of sacrificial animals while standing outside a truck full of goats, said on Wednesday. “Animals may die from hot weather and hunger. The government should immediately allow us into the market,” he said.

Sharafat Ali, another trader from Pattoki, criticized the government for making their day terrible. “Every year we wait for this Eid to sell our cattle head. We have never seen such a pathetic situation in the past we’re facing today as we’ve been stuck here for hours,” he told Dawn.

Shahpur Kanjran cattle market can house 30,000 to 50,000 animals during Eid business. There are other sale points at Saggian and Harbanspura too but the traders coming from southern districts prefer to sell their animals at Shahpur Kanjran. This year too, the government has established nearly 10 animal sale points outside the Lahore city that started functioning from Wednesday. However, Multan Road remains blocked due to arrival of animals at Shahpur Kanjran as truck drivers want to enter the mandi through its main gate on Multan Road instead of another designated for this purpose, said a traffic police official.

Commissioner Asif Bilal Lodhi said the situation would be normal in a couple of days.

“This issue (Multan Road blockage) emerged late on Tuesday after traders started entering the Shahpur cattle market. But we, in a bid to avert the spread of the Covid-19, will accommodate half of the traders here and divert other traders to other points,” he explained. He said he directed the Lahore Division Cattle Market Management Company (LDCMMC) to remain vigilant.

“We cannot keep Shahpur Kanjran under immense pressure that may cause social distancing problems. Therefore, we will have to reduce pressure here by diverting animal sellers to other sale points,” the commissioner maintained.

LDCMMC Managing Director Rehan Ali said the capacity of Shahpur Kanjaran is 20,000 to 22,000 animals but viewing Covid SOPs, the company is unable to keep all animals there. “Therefore, we are accommodating around 10,000 animals here,” he added.

A deputy secretary from the local government department visited Shahpur Kanjran market in connection reviewing arrangements to avert the Covid-19 spread.

Published in Dawn, July 16th, 2020