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Published:
2020-07-28 12:05:21 BdST

Cattle traders at mercy of extortionists in Ctg


Cattle traders who are coming to the port city to sell sacrificial animals ahead of Eid-ul-Azha are at the mercy of extortionists and lessees of the makeshift cattle markets.

Talking to FT Team, many traders alleged that they could not take their cattle to the market of their choice. When cattle-laden trucks enter the city, the cadres of the lessees force the traders to take their cattle to the market mentioned by them.

Mohammed Ali, a trader who brought 50 cattle heads from North Bengal, said, "The cadres compelled me to stay at the Pahartoli market. They even did not allow me to send some cattle heads to the Karnaphuli market or any other markets.

Sources said the cadres have taken position at different points of the city, including Colonel Hat, Alonker area, Cement Crossing area, Ihashan Mistriur Hat to control the movement of cattle-laden trucks.

Although the Chattogram Metropolitan Police (CMP) and the district administration have warned against any forms of extortion, the cadres of the ruling party and the lessees of the makeshift cattle market paid no heed to the warning, they added.

According to the sources, the cattle traders have to pay the cadres Tk 1000 for each truck entering the city. After selling a sacrificial animal, a trader also have to pay Tk 1000.

There are allegations that some dishonest policemen, on behalf of the cadres and lessees, are collecting money from the traders.

Abdus Sabur, a cattle trader who brought 100 cattle heads to Chattogram, alleged that he paid over Tk 5,000 to the cadres and also gave money to policemen so as to avoid hassles while unloading the cattle from a truck at a cattle market.

The sources said there are two permanent cattle markets at Bibirhat and Sagorika, and four irregular cattle markets at Saltgola, TK Group ground in Butterfly Park area, Kamol Mahajon's market and Karnaphuli Bridge area in the port city.

This year, the Chattogram City Corporation (CCC) did not lease out the two biggest temporary cattle markets at Katgor Bazar and Steel Mills Bazar.

Other temporary cattle markets were leased out for only 10 days before the Eid-ul-Azha.

Around 500 cattle markets, including the regular ones, are set up in 14 upazilas of the district during Eid every year.

Some 300 traders supply cattle to these markets.

Besides, several hundred seasonal traders also supply cattle during the festival.

Sales of sacrificial animals are not satisfactory until now, said a trader at Bibir Hat. On the other hand, buyers claimed that the price of sacrificial animals is very high.

Meanwhile, the Chattogram Metropolitan Police (CMP) has taken special measures to arrest extortionists and cadres who are involved in toll collection at the cattle markets.

At least two teams of police have already been deployed in each cattle market in the port city. Besides, the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) has also taken measures to curb extortion, sources said.

Contacted, Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Chattogram Muhammed Ilias Hussain said, "The traders and buyers have to follow the health safety rules in the cattle markets. The administration will strictly enforce the rules this year. The administration has also been put on high alert to maintain the law and order at the markets."

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