With Eid-ul-Azha only a day away, sale of sacrificial animals at cattle markets in Sylhet has finally picked up pace.
Traders said sales were not satisfactory almost the entire week, but the vibe at the market has turned festive since Friday. Taking opportunity of the weekly holiday, people are thronging the haats (markets) to purchase cattle.
Yesterday saw an impressive turnout with people inspecting the animals carefully, selecting one for the festival, bargaining with traders, purchasing the cattle and finally, proudly yelling the price to others while taking the cattle home.
Traders said the supply of cattle is good this year and price is also reasonable. But the number of illegal markets in the city and surrounding areas remain a reason for concern.
Excluding the permanent cattle markets at Kazirbazar, there are only two permitted temporary cattle markets at Tilagarh and Chowkidekhi. Two more markets are permitted by the district administration near the city at Tukerbazar and Pirerbazar.
But there are at least 20 more markets selling sacrificial animals.
While visiting some permitted and illegal cattle markets yesterday, this correspondent saw that the supply was satisfactory compared to the number of buyers.
Many visited the markets with their family or friends to either purchase or check out prices.
This correspondent met Salah Uddin Ahmed, a businessman, at Kazirbazar haat who brought along his family members. “The price seems reasonable this year. I will drop by tomorrow [today] as the price may drop a bit,” he added.
Shahadat Hossain, manager of the market, alleged, “Those behind the illegal cattle markets on way to Kazirbazar force traders not to sell here or showcase their bests.”
“The number of cattle in our haat is satisfactory so far, but it may not meet the demand at the end and price may go up,” he feared.
At the markets, a bull is ranging from Tk 50,000 to Tk 5 lakh while goat from Tk 5,000 to Tk 50,000. In Kazirbazar, some bulls even have a price tag of Tk 10 lakh. Traders said demand for local varieties was high this year as cattle import was less, and more breeders brought theirs to the markets.
Dr Atiar Rahman, district livestock officer, said, “Last year, 97,000 cattle were sold leaving a surplus of around 10,000 in Sylhet. This year, the number would be around 1 lakh while farmers are supplying 107,000.”
“We have formed medical teams for all haats in Sylhet to monitor health of sacrificial animals. As many illegal cattle haats have been set up, we have instructed medical teams to visit them to stop selling of cattle with diseases,” he said.