LAHORE: Punjab’s biggest sacrificial animal sale point – Lahore Shahpur Kanjran cattle market – seems to have fewer buyers as the sale and purchase of sacrificial animals for Eidul Azha has yet to pick momentum. According to a government official, there are Rs20 billion animals present at the market.
“What will you buy when you already are suppressed by high prices of everything, rising unemployment, and other constraints?” said Ayub, a visitor at the market.
“In such a situation, can you even think to buy sacrificial animals for Eidul Azha? I am here for window shopping. I thought of buying a 30-35kg-goat for Rs25,000 or so. But after seeing the rates, I’ve decided to spend Eid without ‘Qurbani’ this year as the price of the same goat now ranges between Rs50,000 to Rs60,000.”
A goat seller, on the other hand, defended the prices of sacrificial animals.
“I think the prices of sacrificial animals are almost equal to the last year if you compare it to increasing inflation, the price hike of everything and other factors,” he said.
The government last year set up 12 sacrificial animals’ sale points in the city, while this year, it has established 13 such markets. These include Lakhudair, Ring Road (1100 Kanal) in Wagha Wagah Zone, LDA City, Sidhar Village, Kahna Kacha, Defence Road (2,200 kanals), Pine Avenue, near Valencia and Shanu Babu Chowk (700 Kanal) and Fruit and Vegetable Market, Kacha (800 kanals) in Nishtar Zone, K Block, DHA Phase-9 (3,000 kanals) and Kahna Kacha Interchange, Ring Road (300 kanals) in Gulberg Zone, Saggian, Hazrat Abu Bakar (160 kanals) in Ravi Zone, NFC Society, near Bahria Town (880 Kanal), Raiwind/Manga Road (900 Kanal) and Raiwind, near Haveli Market in Allama Iqbal Zone and Hazrat Usman Ghani Road, near Saggian (136 Kanal) in Data Ganj Bakhsh Zone, LDA Avenue-1 and Shahpur Kanjran, Multan Road, near EME/DHA (450 kanals) in Allama Iqbal Zone.
All points have a huge number of goats, cows, calves, camels, etc.
“At Shahpur Kankran alone, approximately over 70,000 goats, sheep, etc, 10,000 cows/calves and 1,000 camels are present, which have been brought here by a number of traders from various parts of Sindh and Punjab. These all animals have been housed in 600 regular cattle pens and 100 temporary ones. Some are housed separately under tents,” Jazib Saeed, Punjab Cattle Market Management and Development Company’s Lahore Division chief, told Dawn.
He said under the rules and regulations, traders (sellers) are to pay Rs500 and 100 fees for each big and small animal respectively. The parking fee for each truck/trailer and pick-up carrying animals is Rs1,000 and Rs150. But there is no fees or charges for the people buying sacrificial animals.
In May’s first week, the short-circuiting caused a massive fire due to the high-speed winds at the Shahpur Kanjran cattle market that burnt 315 sheds, of the total 591 bamboo cattle sheds, besides burning eight goats alive. The total loss estimated by the company was over Rs4 million. However, the company restored the routine business activities within a couple of days by making temporary arrangements.
Mr Saeed said though a huge number of animals worth over Rs20 billion is present at the market, the exact figure for sale will be calculated soon after Eid.
“But the issue hampering the trade is the inflation that may cause a reduction in the Eid business. Though the turnout of customers is great, the prices of the animals have left them with no option but to go back home empty-handed,” he said.
He said the prices of sacrificial bulls are expected to go down in the coming days due to the risk of lumpy skin disease in big animals. This is also switching most citizens towards the purchase of goats and camels. To another query, he said farmers, on the other hand, are not expected to get a reasonable return on investment as the rising cost of cattle feed and transportation has increased their selling price.
“However, in all these circumstances, the company has taken all-out efforts to facilitate the stakeholders by providing them with increased service delivery compared to previous years. Among other facilities, a water filtration plant of capacity 2,000 litres per hour has also been installed,” he maintained.
Published in Dawn, July 1st, 2022