July 25, 2021, 6:39 am

Staff Correspondent

2021-07-02 11:05:46 BdST

Cattle smuggling from India on despite Delta Covid concerns

Residents of the border areas of the Kurigram district are growingly worried about the highly contagious Delta variant of Covid-19 infection as smuggling of Indian cattle has reportedly increased ahead of Eid-ul-Azha.

The cattle smuggling has become rampant through the porous frontier of the district, alleged the local people.

Smugglers bring the Indian cows during the night using both land and river routes, they said.

In the local haats, the Indian cattle are available and traders from different districts throng there as the demand has spiked because of the upcoming Eid festival of sacrifice.

Abdul Hakim, a villager of the Jatrapur union of Sadar upazila, said haats sit on Saturday and Tuesday where Indian cattle are sold.

Mozammel Haque, a resident of Narayanpur union in Nageshwari upazila, said there is a fear that coronavirus, especially the Delta variant, may spread because of this illegal movement across the border.

However, Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) claimed that their members are on high alert to prevent spreading Covid-19 along the bordering areas.

Meanwhile, the local administration and police also have strengthened monitoring of any illegal trading of cattle.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a local resident said “It is beyond my imagination why the government is not taking effective measures yet to stop cattle smuggling through the bordering area to stem Covid-19.”

“It is necessary to take effective measures immediately alongside strengthened monitoring along the bordering area,” he said.

The commanding officer of Kurigram BGB, Lieutenant Jamal Uddin, said, “We have already launched a programme to create awareness among people about Covid-19 and if anyone notices illegal intruders then he/she will be asked to inform BGB soon.”

However, BGB has been put on high alert along the bordering area but it is possible to smuggle two/three cattle after dodging the local administration, he said.

Kurigram deputy commissioner Mohammad Rezaul Karim, said “Everyone should be aware of the deadly virus. All kinds of directives have been given to stop cattle smuggling and action will be taken if any negligence is found.”

He also assured of taking necessary steps after consulting with BGB and UNO.

A total of 1,697 people have been found infected with the virus while 29 people have died of Covid-19 in the district till Monday.

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