As Eid-ul-Azha gets closer, the entry of cattle into the country from neighbouring India and Myanmar is on the rise along different border points, worrying local farmers as they have already enough stock to meet the demand for the sacrificial animals.
Cattle are coming through several corridors along the borders of Jessore, Chapainawabganj, Satkhira, Kushtia and Chuadanga both legally and illegally amid a slack vigilance unalike last year by members of Indian Border Security Force (BSF).
However, the Indian cattle inflow is still very thin in the flood-hit districts like Panchagarh, Thakurgaon, Kurigram, Lalmonirhat, and the ones which have no corridor to bring the sacrificial animals legally.
Besides, the sacrificial animal supply from Myanmar through Teknaf border has marked a sharp rise ahead of the eid.
According to the Department of Livestock Services, the country has at least 1.15 crore sacrificial animals for the upcoming Eid-ul-Azha.
In Jessore, according to Navaron corridor customs inspector Suma Moni, over 3,000 cows and 1,000 goats were imported from India this month.
Moni said some 300-400 Indian cattle, mostly cows, are entering the country through Navaron corridor every day. “The cattle supply from India is likely to increase significantly in the coming days before the eid.”
Local traders are also bringing in cattle from India through illegal channels dodging or managing the border guards of the two countries, a custom official said wishing to remain anonymous.
Contacted, Lt Col Md Tarikul Hakim, commanding officer of BGB-21, said they are strongly monitoring to stop the illegal entry of Indian cattle as around 300-400 cows are getting into the country legally every day.
In Satkhira, local farmers are deeply worried over the fair prices of their raised animals as there has been an increased flow of Indian cattle through the four border points of the district.
District revenue officer Abdul Latif said around 300 Indian cows are passing through four border points — Kulia, Sonabaria, Satani and Basantapur — legally.
He said some 2,572 cows were imported from India in June while 3,202 in July and 3,834 till date.
In Rajshahi, the Indian cattle inflow through different corridors and channels in the district is still relatively lower.
AKM Raihan Hafiz, company commander of Rajshahi BGB-1 Battalion said, “The number of entry of Indian cattle through the border points here is still very low as the Padma River is overflowing.”
The Indian cattle entry may get a boost in the district a week before the eid with the fall in water level of the mighty river, local cattle traders feared.
Around 2000-25000 cows are entering the country every day from India through Chapainawabganj border points.
In Chapainawabganj, the cattle inflow from India, both legally and illegally, has increased greatly over the last few days through different border points in Sadar, Shibganj and Gomastapur upazilas.
Monirul Islam Kalu, director of Ahedpur border point (Beat), a point approved by the Home Ministry for Indian cattle import, said the import of Indian cow increased significantly due to a ‘good understanding’ among the traders of the two neighbouring countries.
He said Indian cattle traders are bringing in their cows and buffalos to zero point and selling those to their Bangladeshi counterparts as there has been ‘no restriction’ by BSF troops this time.
In Dinajpur, the flow of Indian cattle through the border points in the district remained stopped due to the sweeping severe flood.
In Kushtia, local cattle traders fear of suffering huge losses as the prices of local sacrificial animals are falling due to huge illegal and legal entry of Indian cattle through different corridors, including 31-No one.
District livestock officer Asadul Haque said the local farmers are unlikely to get fair prices of their animals as the supply of Indian cattle marked a rise over the last few days.
He said around 20,000 local farmers has raised over 2 lakh sacrificial cattle for the upcoming eid.
Qazi Shawkat, owner of Kazi Farm, said, “We’ve fattened 175 cows for the eid market. But the demand of local cattle is declining due to increased inflow of Indian cattle through legal and illegal channels.”
In Cox’s Bazar, an unusual number of cattle from Myanmar are entering the country this year through Teknaf corridor ahead of the eid.
Teknaf Customs Super AKM Mosharraf Hossain said the inflow of cattle from Myanmar is three times higher this time than last year’s.
He said around 82,229 cattle imported from India as of 19 August for the eid while the number was 27,733 last year.
Mosharraf said 10,000-15,000 more cattle from Myanmar are likely to enter the country before the eid. “We’re realising Tk 500 as tax for each of the cow and buffalo.”
Abdullah Moni, one of the major cattle importers from Myanmar, said they have seen an increase in cattle import from Myanmar this year due to stability in the neighbouring country.
In Chuadanga, the traders are bringing in Indian cattle illegally through the border areas of Munshipur and Sultanpur.
However, a small number of Indian cattle are entering the country through Jhenidah, Panchagarh Thakurgaon, Kurigram and some other northern districts due to flood on both sides of the border.