Traders price cattle at exorbitant rates

High rates, shortage of animals & traffic disruption near cattle markets irk citizens

Jamil Mirza June 13, 2024



Chaos has erupted at Bhatta Ground, the largest cattle market in the twin cities, as contractors charge exorbitant rates above the fixed prices for sacrificial animals.
The shortage of animals, coupled with skyrocketing prices, frustrated citizens coming to purchase animals are being forced to return empty-handed. The merchants remain unwilling to lower prices, citing the high costs of bringing animals to the market, which includes the fees and rent. Yet, as Eid draws closer, buyers are expected to flood the market in the final days leading up to the festival.
With only five days remaining until Eidul Azha, the Bhatta Ground Market is facing a shortage of cattle, with fewer animals arriving than anticipated. Meanwhile, the Sector I-14 markets have a sufficient supply of animals, but prices are exorbitant.
The prices of cows and bulls range from Rs0.2 million to Rs0.6 million. Meanwhile, the prices of goats vary between Rs60,000 to 80,000 and above Rs100,000.
A fee of Rs3,000 is being charged from sellers for every large animal and Rs2,000 for every small animal for entry into the cattle market. In addition to that, a further Rs4,000 to 6,000 is being collected from traders for the accommodation of animals. Moreover, the daily rent being charged for tents at Bhatta Ground is Rs10,000 and additional fees are charged for any extra space required. The contract for the cattle market had been auctioned off for Rs110 million.
Although a market enclosure had been constructed around the Bhatta Ground for the cattle market, an illegal market has spilt over into adjacent residential areas, occupying streets and roads in response to the high rates set by the government. This has resulted in worsened traffic congestion and created unsanitary conditions in residential streets, where sacrificial animals roam freely.
Citizens face difficulties as life in residential areas becomes disrupted by the chaos of the cattle market and traffic on roads adjacent to Bhatta Ground restricts commute and adds to the noise pollution. Especially, from 5pm onwards, these areas become crowded, and sellers are found completely disregarding the prohibition against keeping sacrificial animals confined to the market cattle premises.
These problems have arisen despite the Rawalpindi Cantonment Board (RCB) issuing regular standard operating procedures (SOPs) however, contractors and officials have brazenly flouted these rules. The sale, purchase and display of animals on empty plots, roads, and streets outside the designated cattle market area is strictly prohibited.


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