Police have suggested entrepreneurs to sell their cattle online during this year’s Eid-ul-Azha fearing that it would be difficult to maintain health directives in the makeshift cattle markets.
A report of the police was sent to the home ministry where it recommended setting up cattle markets on open spaces in the suburbs to avoid overcrowding amid the coronavirus outbreak.
A home ministry official, without giving any details of the report, said that the issue of cattle market would be discussed in an inter-ministerial meeting next week.
Public health experts also feared that cattle markets could contribute to further infections as the two city corporations in Dhaka are planning to set up around 25 cattle markets this year.
Asked for comment, home ministry additional secretary Abu Bakar Siddique said, ‘We have called a meeting scheduled for July 12 where officials from local government, health, road transport and some other ministries concerned will discuss the issue.’
He told New Age that the sensitivity of the issue had already came to their notice and a decision was expected from the inter-ministerial meeting.
Traders also worry that the makeshift markets for selling animals for sacrifice would be less crowded this year.
Several online platforms have already started campaigning with offers of ‘full-service Qurbani’ as authorities in different cities are allowing fewer Qurbani markets this year.
Besides, there is fear that both the traders and the customers may not follow the health directives while trading at those markets.
The law enforcement agencies said that the makeshift cattle markets, which are set up in addition to the permanent ones, will be at high risk of COVID-19 transmission this year. If social distancing and health directives are not followed, these will lead to virus spike.
According to the police report, the permanent cattle markets of Gabtali, Sharulia, Ashulia in Dhaka, Gazipure’s Mawa and Kapasia, Comilla’s Chandina, Noyakhali’s Ramganj, Tangail’s Mirzapur, Netrokona’s Sidli, Jinaidhah, Chuyadhanga, Kushtia Satkhira, Khulna, Bogura and Rajshahi’s Putia are already vulnerable to new infections as health directives and social distancing are hardly maintained there.
It suggested that cattle markets should be set up in Rajuk Purbachal Project Area, Tongi Ijtema field, Uttara third project, Rajuk Jilmil project, Purbachol 300 Feet and Aftabnagar areas where there are comparatively more open areas.
Police headquarters assistant inspector general for media Sohel Rana said that they took some measures for ensuring social distancing and health directives.
He told New Age that police will increase the security of the Eid cattle market. Police and detectives will be deployed around the markets. They will keep quick response team and technology surveillance on the cattle market.
The report also recommended that that the Eid cattle markets should be kept open every day 15 days before Eid at district level to avoid overcrowding.
The police report asked people to opt for online market places like Bikroy.com, Bengal meat, Daraz, American Dairy, Deshi Meat.
Public health expert Lenin Choudhury said that it would be almost impossible to maintain distancing and health directives in crowded cattle markets. ‘It will lead to another outbreak of infection,’ he argued.
The cattle markets should not be set up this year, particularly in the red zones to check further spike in cases, he added.
The deaths toll from COVID-19 reached 2,052 and the number of infected people increased to 162,417 in Bangladesh till Sunday, according to official statistics.
The number of infections increased following the reopening of offices and businesses since May 31 after a nationwide shutdown for around two months from March 26 to contain the coronavirus outbreak.
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