ISLAMABAD: Vendors from different parts of the country started arriving in the capital on Thursday with thousands of cattle and livestock in tow ahead of Eidul Azha.
As per annual tradition, the space for setting up the temporary cattle market has been designated in Sector I-12 where residents of the twin cities can purchase sacrificial animals for the religious festivals.
The variety includes different breeds of goats, sheep, cows and camels.
This year, it took some time to set up the market and make it operational owing to administrative hiccups in opening four other markets simultaneously. In the end, the city administration only managed to set up the one market near the Railway Carriage Factory to accommodate the influx of sacrificial animals in the city.
VENDORS HOPE FOR BUSINESS:
Imran Ali, a vendor who had ventured to the federal capital from Arifwala, said that he was extremely excited to reach the market with his cows.
However, he said that he was disappointed with the state of arrangements with insufficient facilities available to unload animals and take them to their allotted area.
“We were made to wait for hours just to get to our stall without any justification. I came here after spending 10 to 12 hours on the road covering 470 kilometres,” Ali said, adding, “My animals are tired from the long journey and need some water and fodder. But we have to wait for hours to unload them.”
Another cattle trader, Muhammad Ashraf from Sahiwal, bemoaned the increased charges.
“The [market] management is charging Rs2,650 for a large animal (camels and cows) and Rs1,250 for a small one (sheep and goat) but despite paying such a heavy amount, we are forced to go outside the market to fetch drinking water for ourselves and our animals,” Ashraf complained.
Deploring the management’s attitude, he said that they were allocating space to the vendors on their own without any criteria, which speaks about the flaws and transparency in the administration plan.
Raja Zahid, who has been handed the contract for running the Sector I-12 market, confirmed that they were indeed responsible for providing water, stall space and electricity in the area, for which he had hired a sufficient workforce.
“We are charging Rs143 per square yard from a vendor and are dedicating seven square yards for each goat and sheep, while 15 squares for cows and camels,” he said.
This year, city officials said that they had awarded a contract worth Rs71.5 million to a private party who would be responsible for providing all the basic facilities to vendors coming from different parts of the country to sell their goats, sheep, cows and camels.
Responding to a question, a staffer at the market said that first comers were being allotted space towards the end of the market as per a strategy devised by the market management to avoid any kind of a mess at the entrance in the coming days, during which a great rush is expected.
“All arrangements have been completed on part of the civic body,” official sources in the Islamabad Metropolitan Corporation (IMC) said.
Responding to a question, they said that the IMC failed to set up four other markets in Rawat, Bhara Kahu, Tramri and Sarai Kharbooza due to some litigation issues.
Moreover, the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) administration has imposed Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPc) in the federal capital on the sale of animals in places other than the designated market space.
If any vendor is found violating the rule, their animals would be confiscated.
The IMC, sources said, would deploy 20 staffers to ensure smooth supply of drinking water and electricity, besides keeping a check on designated places for loading and unloading of animals, public toilets and car parking. Moreover, a police official informed that they were installing 20 pickets and deploying 60 police officials for the security of the market.
GOATS ON THE LOOSE IN PINDI:
Meanwhile, the Rawalpindi Cantonment Board (RCB) on Thursday confiscated 10 goats in their jurisdiction after a ban was imposed on the sale of sacrificial animals in prohibited areas.