People in Dhaka city this past weekend faced acute crisis of red meat as the traders continued their six-day strike for five consecutive days on Friday to press home their four-point demands.
Customers complained that as the open meat market traders were on strike the chain shops were charging high for selling meat.
The city meat traders have been observing six-day strike since last Monday to press home their demands including end of extortion at Gabtoli cattle market, hassle-free cattle import from India, Nepal and other neighbouring countries and fair prices of rawhides.
As the meat traders continued their strike, the authorities were yet to take any visible initiatives to settle the issue.
The traders in a press conference at Dhaka Reporters Unity on Friday threatened to observe a countrywide strike for indefinite period if their demands were not met.
Bangladesh Meat Traders Association and Dhaka Metropolitan Meat Traders Association jointly organised the briefing where BMTA secretary general Rabiul Alam said that for different problems of traders, beef price went up to Tk 500 per kilogram finally.
‘We can sell beef at Tk 300 per kilogram, if our demands are met,’ he said.
He also asked the Dhaka North City Corporation to cancel agreement with Gabtoli cattle market leaseholder and removal of its officials who are backing the market leaseholder.
The traders said that on Sunday morning they would meet commerce minister Tofail Ahmed and DNCC authorities for resolving the issue.
‘If our demands are not met, we will call for countrywide strike,’ said Rabiul at the press briefing where other leaders of organisations were present.
Meat traders said according to rule they pay Tk 50 for a single cow, Tk 70 for buffalo and Tk 15 for sheep or goat on condition of selling the meat openly while other people have to pay Tk 3.5 as market toll.
They claimed market authorities did not follow the rule and were charging high as they wished.
Gabtoli cattle market leaseholder Lutfar Rahman alleged that the traders sold out the meat for different functions in the city and supplied meat to different restaurants and party centres violating the rule.
Traders and market sources said at least 5,000 cows and buffalos and 1,500 goats or sheep were slaughtered daily in the capital.
Neither the city corporation nor the associations cite the number of meat traders in the city.
BMTA leaders said so far 5,000 to 6,000 traders were in different areas of the city.
Market lease holders said the associations provide traders’ identity cards as the city corporation had no control over them.
DNCC chief executive officer Md Mesbahul Islam told New Age that they had asked for lists of the traders but were yet to get any list.
DNCC initiated to compile a list of meat traders, he said.
Want stories like this in your inbox?
Sign up to exclusive daily email
More Stories from Miscellany