Traders continue to sell meat — beef and mutton— at exorbitant prices four days after the end of their six-day strike that was called in protest against extortion at Gabtoli cattle market.
Following the strike, beef prices shot up to Tk 480-Tk 500 a kilogram on Sunday, increasing by Tk 30-Tk 50, and were yet to come down to the previous level on Wednesday.
The price of mutton also remained high at Tk 780-800 per kg with a hike of Tk 30 to Tk 70.
Meat traders at different markets in the capital on Wednesday claimed that they were not having enough supply of cattle to fulfil the rising demand of the customers following the meatless market for about a week.
The Bangladesh Meat Traders Association and the Dhaka Metropolitan Meat Traders Association jointly enforced the strike in the city in February 13-18.
Their demands included end to extortion at Gabtoli cattle market, hassle-free cattle import from India, Nepal and other neighbouring countries and fair prices of rawhides.
The traders claimed that the government was yet to take any steps to meet their demands.
Abdul Hakim, a trader at Malibagh market, said the sellers at Gabtoli cattle market, the prime cattle market in Dhaka, were now selling cows at higher prices due to the extortion.
‘We have to sell meat in accordance with the prices they sell to us. We are also suffering as meat customers are turning their back on the item due to the excessive prices,’ he said.
‘The price is higher as we have to buy cattle at higher prices from Gabtoli cattle market,’ said Kashim Mia, a trader at Karwan Bazar.
‘We used to sell beef at Tk 430-Tk 450 before, but now we have no other option but to sell at Tk 500 to meet additional costs,’ he said.
Lower supply of cattle and falling prices of rawhide have caused the beef price rise, Kashim alleged. ‘We are selling rawhide at Tk 1,000–1,500 while the prices were Tk 2,500–3,000,’ he said.
Rafique Ahmed, another trader at Hatirpool market, said with the meat strike, the demand for red meat had increased in the city.
As the issue is yet to be solved, the city dwellers have become the ultimate victims who are paying extra prices, he added.
The customers are now showing less interest to buy meat with extra money, said Rafique. Some intend to buy chicken instead of red meat, he added.
Bangladesh Meat Traders Association secretary general Rabiul Alam told new age on Wednesday that due to the extortion and falling rawhide prices at Gabtoli cattle market traders had no other option but to sell the items at higher prices to adjust with their cost.
‘Our demands are yet to be met as the commerce ministry has not said anything yet. We will go for further action if the issues remain unaddressed,’ he warned.
Rabiul earlier alleged they had to pay between Tk 20,000 and Tk 30,000 as extortion money to bring each cow from the borders to Dhaka.
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