There was an uncommon scene at Malibagh railway crossing in Dhaka on Monday, Eid, with people buying the meat of sacrificed animals.
People, mostly from low-income families, gathered there to buy beef from those who had colleced the 'qurbani' meat from door to door, as Muslims distribute one third of the flesh of the sacrificed animals among the poor.
Some seasonal traders were also found at the makeshift market selling beef after buying it from the poor at a low price.
A certain Md Hedayetullah came to the market from Banasree to buy beef as he could not slaughter any animal. “I’ve bought 5 kg of beef for my family for Tk 2,000 only,” he said.
Saleha Begum of Badda said, “I didn't go houde to house to collect beef. That’s why I’m here and bought 5 kg of beef for only Tk 1,500.”
Majid Miah from Bogura had brought 10 goats to sell at the livestock market in the capital but didn't make much of a profit. He then took up working as an assistant to the butchers who slaughter the animals and prepare the meat, and thus collected 10 kg of beef.
“I’m selling beef at Tk 200 per kg as buyers are offering low prices due to the availability of huge beef here,” he told UNB.
Md Humayun, also from Bogura, said, “I come here every year during Eid-ul-Azha to make some extra money after collecting beef and selling it at the make-shift market.”
“I’ve collected 8 to 10 kgs of beef this year although the quality of meat is not very good. This is why I’m selling it T Tk 300 per kg,” he said.
A seller, Hanif, told UNB that he got 5 kg of beef from his employer and earned Tk 2,400 after selling it.
Amena Begum living in a city slum told UNB that she procured around 12 kgs of beef and sold the entire amount for Tk 500 per kg.
Three young men were found selling large amounts of beef on a mat at the railway crossing. One of them, Md Imran, said, “Two of my friends and I invested Tk 50,000 and bought around 170 kgs of beef from poor people. We’re now re-selling it here.”
He said they gathered the beef at Tk 200-300 per kg from Gulshan and Siddheswari of the capital. “We’re now selling the beef at Tk 500 per kg.”
Like Malibagh, makeshift beef markets were set up in other areas of the capital, including Rampura, Badda, Mirpur, Natun Bazar and Maghbazar.
There was plenty of local cattle in the country to meet the demand for sacrificial animals during the Eid-ul-Azha this year.
The Department of Livestock Services (DLS) said 577,416 commercial farms and farmers had around 11,788,563 sacrificial animals against a demand of 11,000,000 cattle.