With Eid-ul-Azha only a week away, the qurbani haats (cattle markets) of the capital will be officially opened from today for the cattle trade. The influx of cattle meant for sacrifice into the markets from different parts of the country, however, has already started, and has been going on for the past few days.
This year, the Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) has allowed seven cattle markets under its juris-diction while the Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) has approved 10 markets at different places. Apart from the markets approved by the civic body, the Dhaka district deputy commissioner has ap-proved six cattle markets.
On visiting the Gaabtoli haat, it was found that the cattle traders are busy feeding and taking care of their animals. “It is very hot. I had to face lots of hassles in bringing the cows to the capital,” said Ha-shem Ali, a cattle trader, who brought nine cows of various sizes, ranging in price from Tk. 45,000 to Tk. 65,000, from Dinajpur to Dhaka.
Ali expects to sell all his cows this year. “Last year, I couldn’t sell half my cows, and had to suffer losses. This year, I hope to sell more, as there are fewer Indian cows here,” said Ali.
Tofazzol Hossain, another cattle trader in Gaabtoli haat, who came from Kushtia, also had hopes of bet-ter sales this year. “We need to hire around four persons to look after our cows during the haat days. Also, there are other expenses in the capital. If I can’t sell my cows, I will have to suffer losses,” he said.
Shontosh, who arrived with Hossain, washes and feeds the cow of his mohajon (cow trader). “I plan to earn Tk. 4,000 in this week. But that would depend on the sales of my mohajon,”
These animals, brought by cattle traders like Hashem Ali and Tofazzol Hossain, arrive in the capital through a network of truckers. Wahiduddin, one such truck-owner, operates his truck between Aricha and Gabtoli, often carrying cement, sand and bricks. But he ferries only animals during Eid-ul-Azha.
“I bring the animals from the trawlers that come from Kushtia. A trip takes around six hours up and down, for which I earn Tk. 7,000,” he said, adding that now it takes lot of time to reach the capital be-cause the highways are clogged with traffic.
“Also, there are several instances of extortion along the way by people belonging to different factions. We have to overcome lots of hurdles to bring these cattle,” he said.
To check extortion and other crimes, this year mobile courts will start working from Monday at the cat-tle markets, set up in Dhaka City and its adjacent areas.
Apart from the markets’ environmental conditions and management, the courts’ executive magistrates will also monitor law and order and security measures. Seven magistrates would run mobile courts at these places. Mirpur circle assistant commissioner (land), Md Mushfiqur Rahman, would lead the mo-bile court that would oversee two cattle markets in the capital’s Gabtoli and near the Rayer Bazar Graveyard.
Rahman said that these courts would ensure that market leaseholders fulfil the conditions that were stipulated to them. They will also work to maintain law and order, he added.
DC Muntasirul Islam said police have been put on alert to ensure the security of both buyers and sellers and to prevent any kind of disorder.
“Every market will have CCTV cameras, watch towers and machines to identify fake currency notes,” he added.
He also said the police would take action against any market set up in places not approved by the au-thorities.
Fisheries and livestock minister Mohammed Sayedul Haque said on Thursday that there would be no cattle crisis during the Eid, as farmers were ready with 4 million cows and 6.9 million goats for the sac-rifice. He also said veterinary teams would check cattle in 494 markets across the country to ensure safe meat.