Sacrificial cattle market becomes a theatre of haggling

LAHORE: As Lahore’s main and regular market (mandi) — Shahpur Kanjran — seems packed with sacrificial animals ahead of Eidul Azha, a number of traders and customers can be seen here negotiating the animal’ prices.

“You know we are already in trouble due to sky rocketing prices of all the things,” a customer was seen talking to a cattle trader in Tuesday in the market. “Dollar has become expensive. So, please sell this goat to me at Rs30,000, as I am offering you a reasonable price.”

The trader was not convinced.

“How I can sell this goat in Rs30,000, as my entire investment on this is Rs38,000? And I am just seeking a Rs2,000 profit. I am also like you and all others facing price hike and other issues these days.”

Like this, a number of people were seen haggling.

“Last year, I bought the same size of goat for Rs27,000. And now you can see he is demanding Rs40,000. So what to do?” the customer, Ehsaan, told Dawn.

In all seven sacrificial animals’ sale points have been established in Lahore. Shahpur is the only formal mandi of animals operated by the Lahore Division Cattle Market Management Company. The other markets - Saggian, Lakhudair and Township - have been established temporarily by the Metropolitan Corporation Lahore and the city district administration. According to officials, a huge number of animals (goats, sheep, calves, bulls etc) are present in all markets.

“The situation was not good at Shahpur Kanran last year. But, this year, we improved a lot by getting done earth-filling of the site,” Lahore Commissioner, Asif Bilal Lodhi, who also heads the LDCMMC’s as its BoD chairman, said to Dawn. “Shahpur Kanjran is a mandi, where you can see a variety of activities—sale, purchase, walks and exhibitions of healthy animals. It seems that we have a festival here,” he added.

According to company officiating managing director Sarfraz Arshad, the government has brought a paradigm shift to its policy specially related to the Eid operations. “Previously, traders were restricted to only buy fodder from the designated points in the mandi. So, it was generating public complaints. But this year, traders can buy fodder from within or outside the mandi,” he explained. Similarly, he said, a strategy has been adopted to eliminate extortion and announcements are also being made through public address systems urging the traders to immediately contact the complaint cell if anyone demands money for anything.

“Besides this, we have got installed ATM machines and established bank branches at the mandi to facilitate both customers and passengers,” he added. He said at present Shahpur Kanjran market alone was housing over 120,000 sacrificial animals of all kind.

Traders looked worried due to slow pace of sale despite availability of a huge number of customers.

“A number of people are visiting us on a daily basis. But most of them just talk but avoid buying animals,” said Munir, a trader. “You know that Eidul Azha is the only event for which we keep goats for six to nine months. We spend a lot of money on their health so when a buyer doesn’t offer a good price, we have no option but to refuse,” he said.

 

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