Meat crunch hits city dwellers hard on weekend | The Daily Star
01:26 PM, February 17, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 06:25 PM, February 17, 2017

Meat crunch hits city dwellers hard on weekend

Final say on Sunday, after meeting

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It is the wedding of Kazi Mashiur Rahman’s younger daughter today.

A big day for him and his family, he has arranged a big old traditional gala Old Dhaka wedding for the hundreds of guests to arrive this evening at the Ranking Street in Wari.

With everything perfect and well managed, an eleventh-hour crisis has sunk his heart to rock bottom – there is no red meat in the market. What would he treat his guests with?

Disgusted, he ran off to Gabtoli and bought a cow and was hurrying with the preparations when The Daily Star found him wiping the sweat off his eyebrows and twitching in anxiety.

The red meat crisis that hit since the meat traders went on strike last Monday, has deepened this weekend – when, generally the demand for a delicious high-protein family meal is high.

Everywhere, with the shutters closed for most of the butcher outlets, the demand for red meat was running high. Red meat could be found in some places, but at a startlingly high price.

Some outlets of chain super-shops like Meena Bazzar and Swapno had red meat. But the beef prices were as high as Tk 545 per kg and mutton Tk 799 per kg.

An official of a Swapno outlet told The Daily Star seeking anonymity that under normal circumstances the average demand for beef is 300kg per day. “Today, we could only manage 50-60 kg for customers.”

Saurav Rahman, a customer who went to Swapno’s Wari outlet to buy red meat, was complaining about the price. But he finally gave in and bought the meat because of “family pressures”.

OUTCOME SUNDAY, THREATS OF COUNTRYWIDE STRIKE

The commerce ministry and Dhaka North City Corporation will sit with meat traders this Sunday, after which a concrete outcome is expected. Meanwhile, meat sellers have threatened a countrywide strike.

“We have been invited to the meeting on Sunday,” Robiul Alam, secretary general of Bangladesh Meat Merchants' Association told The Daily Star after a briefing at Dhaka Reporters Unity.

“If our demands are not met by 15 days, we will go for a countrywide strike,” he said.

Meat traders went on the six-day strike demanding a stop to “excessive tax collection” by the lessee in the city's only permanent cattle market at Gabtoli. They also want facilities for legal import of cattle from Bhutan, India and Nepal.

During today’s press conference, they reiterated their demands and said their strike will continue until Saturday. On Sunday, further decisions will be taken based on outcome of the meeting.

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