During a visit to the haat Saturday afternoon, prospective buyers spoke to Prothom Alo.

At around 1:45pm, Wahiduzzaman, a bank official and resident of Shantinagar, told Prothom Alo he had come to check out the prices. He still hadn’t fixed a space to keep the cow at his residence premises. He plans to buy his cow on the day before Eid.

This time there are 18 temporary livestock markets in the capital city on the occasion of Eid-ul-Azha. Of these, 10 are in Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) area and eight in Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) area. Other than this, there is the permanent Gabtali cattle market and the Sarulia ‘haat’.

There were innumerable cows with all different sizes at the cattle market set up on the grounds near the Maitri Sangha Club of Khilgaon Railgate Bazar in North Shahjahanpur. Customers had come to see the animals and some were buying.

Nazim Uddin, who was involved in running the market, told Prothom Alo that more cows had come this time as compared to last year. Sales had begun to some extent. Around 30 to 35 cows had been sold within the afternoon.

Mohammad Hasan had brought the biggest cow to the ‘haat’ from Satkhira. He said it weighed around 27 maunds. He was asking Tk 1.5 million (Tk 15 lakh) for the animal. It had been named Babuji. He said many people came up to ask the cow’s price simply due to its sheer size. He hasn’t found a buyer as yet.

At around 2:30pm, a visit to the temporary cattle market in Golapbagh saw many cows had been brought there from all over the country. However, the buyers were few.

In the meantime, workers hired by the market management as well as members of the law enforcement were on duty to enforce health and hygiene guidelines. Not everyone was following the rules and many buyers and sellers had masks around their chins. Some did not even have masks.

Both buyers and sellers said prices this time were relatively higher. The sellers said they had to buy the animals at higher prices. A trader from Chuadanga said he had brought six animals to the market.

Businessman Khairul Bakr had come to North Shahjahanpur to buy a cow. He said last year he had bought a cow for Tk 150,000. This year they were asking for Tk 230,000 for a cow of the same size.

The two Dhaka city corporations have leased out the ‘qurbani’ cattle ‘haats’ during coronavirus under certain conditions.

These include ensuring hand washing facilities, making sure masks were worn and checking temperature of anyone entering the market.

However, those involved in managing the markets said that it was simply not possible to ensure that all the guidelines were maintained, given the sheer numbers of people crowding the markets.

The two city corporations have announced that mobile courts will ensure that the health rules are followed.