The runaway inflation affecting all sectors of life has also caused a hike in the charges of various facilities offered at Karachi’s cattle market on Super Highway ahead of Eidul Azha.
Contractors have increased the entry fee for livestock besides the parking fee for trucks and pickups hauling the sacrificial animals to and from the market, transporters told The Express Tribune during a survey of the country’s largest cattle market.
The contractors have also increased parking charges for cars and motorcycles of people coming to buy the sacrificial animals. The increment in all these fees and charges will ultimately push up the price of cattle and the buyers will end up paying extra to take home an animal for slaughter, cattle traders fear.
The annual market of sacrificial animals is nothing less than a circus, attracting thousands of people who come just to enjoy a night out watching enormous bulls and adorned cows in the VIP enclosures where price tags start from half a million rupees.
This year, the contractor for the cattle market management has increased the entry fee for each goat, lamb and sheep by Rs100 to Rs1,100. Traders bringing cows, bulls, and camels for sale at the annual bazaar will pay Rs200 extra or Rs1,800 per head. The increase in entry fee of animals, parking charges and water is likely to increase the price of sacrificial animals by Rs3,000 to Rs5,000 as compared with last year.
People come with their families and friends to buy an animal of their choice and the parking fee for their vehicles is a major source of income for the administration of the cattle market.
“Last year the parking contract went for Rs50 million,” a cattle trader told The Express Tribune. This year the parking fee for a car has been fixed at Rs70 per car and Rs30 per motorcycle. However, this is for visitors, whereas traders and vendors who have to come and go all through the day for the entire season of at least 20 days get a sticker from the cattle market management.
The parking sticker for cars is for Rs6000 and Rs3,000 for motorcycles. Last year the same sticker was for Rs5,000 and Rs2,000, traders said.
Meanwhile, truckers hauling livestock to the cattle market from rural areas and other provinces said they have increased their charges in line with increment in toll tax, district administration and municipal levies besides the parking fee at the market.
The driver of a regular truck has to pay Rs500 entry fee for each trip, a small truck Rs400 and entry fee for pickup has been fixed at R350.
While the location for every business is of prime importance, for animal vendors at the cattle market it is the main factor.
There is a strip along the main entry route near the VIP block for the top steers. The charges for tying up to 20 animals on this strip is Rs75,000 for the Eidul Azha season. Rent for a plot for keeping up to 40 animals is Rs40,000 and for 80 to 120 animals is Rs175,000 for the time the market lasts.
People selling livestock at the cattle market will have to buy a plastic drum from the contractor for Rs2,500 and pay Rs500 for a refill of 100 liters. The contractors have made it mandatory for every vendor to buy the drum and the water, even though they make their own arrangements, traders told.
According to representatives of contractors working at the cattle market, they are responsible for the safety and security of the traders, their livestock and the people coming to buy animals at the annual Eid bazaar which comes to life of an otherwise desolate piece of land on the intercity highway between Karachi and Hyderabad.
They said that they provide water, electricity, sanitary and sanitation services for thousands of people coming to the cattle market.
The fee collected from traders and visitors go towards the provision of these services and professional charges, they said