KARACHI: Karachi's Bhains Colony is the third-largest cattle market in the city where hordes of people flock to purchase animals on a day-to-day basis. With Eidul Azha around the corner, the market has become busier than ever. However, both cattle traders and buyers are facing difficulties because of the deteriorating cleanliness situation of the market.
Rainwater, polluted with litter and animal dung, has formed huge swamps within the premises of the market because of which waterborne diseases are spreading among animals. What's more, no effective steps have been taken by the District Municipal Corporation (DMC) Malir to alleviate the situation.
According to cattle traders, government officers and staffers, together with the elected civic representatives, are merely interested in minting money from traders by charging hefty entry fees for animals, which has been doubled because of Eidul Azha.
The Bhains Colony cattle market, which once used to be the largest mandi of its kind, is undergoing the worst cleanliness situation in its history. As a result, many traders who earlier used to take their animals for selling there are instead heading to the Malir cattle market, which also comes under the management of DMC Malir, because of its considerably better condition.
"Before 2001, the Bhains Colony cattle market was under the control of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC). After the devolution of power, however, the administration of the cattle market was handed over to DMC Malir under the Local Government Act of 2013," Muhammad Javed, a cattle dealer told The Express Tribune. "Since then, nothing has been done to keep the market clean or organised."
Other cattle traders said that there are 12 rainwater drains around Bhains Colony, but they are either chocked with garbage or have been encroached upon. As a result, heavy rains wreak havoc to the market which quickly becomes flooded with water that remains stagnant for a long time.
"The accumulated water not only makes the market extremely unpleasant and smelly but it also causes the spread of diseases among animals. Their treatment and medication have become an additional financial burden for cattle traders," Javed said.
Traders also complained that there are no medical facilities, hospitals or veterinary doctors in the market and all the animals are allowed to enter the premises without any medical checkup.
"A few days ago, DMC Malir carried out partial sanitary work in the market but they left huge piles of filth there," Mumtaz Baloch, a cattle trader said, while criticising the authority. "We have lodged complaints various times before but it fell on deaf ears. As against that, when the KMC was controlling the administration of the market, they used to make efforts to keep the place clean."
Baloch added that people of the area are so annoyed with the authorities that they have started cleaning the streets of the Bhains Colony themselves. Residents also said that there are no street lights and no germicide has been sprayed in the area for ages.
When approached, spokesperson DMC Malir Salim Ahmed Khan claimed that a cleaning drive has already begun in the cattle colony on the directives of DMC Malir chairman, Jan M Baloch.
"We are taking the matter very seriously and, for the purpose, the vacations of all sanitary workers have been postponed so that they can be on duty," Salim Ahmed Khan said.
"We have already sent cleaning machines to the cattle market, together with germicide sprays and dewatering pumps to tackle the post-rain situation. People should not worry as our team is on a high alert."
Published in The Express Tribune, August 10th, 2019.