Nineteen temporary cattle markets in the capital started on Friday although they were supposed to start on Saturday. No health rules to prevent Covid-19 infections are being followed anywhere.
In addition, despite the ban on setting up cattle stalls in residential areas and on the streets, cattle have been kept on streets in front of pharmacies, banks, hotels, residential buildings, grocery stores and super shops in various residential areas of the capital, forcing locals to go through the market when they go out of the home.
At a time when Covid-19 infections are on the rise in the country, experts fear that the infection will increase as a result of not following the rules in cattle markets and setting up cattle markets in residential areas.
Meradia Bazar in Rampura is one of the 10 temporary cattle markets set up in Dhaka South. Although cattle markets are supposed to be held in an open space, animals were seen lined up on both sides of the road in Meradia Bazar and South Banasree.
There were rows of cattle on both sides of the lanes and alleys of Kazibari Road in L Block of South Banasree Road-11.
Locals said it happens every year and they face problems but they cannot do anything to stop it.
The situation is the same in the cattle markets of Dhaka North where cattle have been kept beside lanes and alleys and even in front of residential buildings, restaurants, grocery shops, etc.
In Badda Eastern Housing, Block-E, in Aftabnagar, one of the nine cattle markets set up in Dhaka North, children, teenagers and adults were seen visiting the market in groups on Friday afternoon.
Public health expert Dr Lelin Chowdhury said, "Health hygiene rules have become a matter of joke in Bangladesh. Otherwise, how can there be a cattle market in front of a residential building or in front of the drug store? The directives issued on cattle markets exist only on paper."
Russell Sabrin, chief property officer of Dhaka South City Corporation, said they are monitoring if the sellers and buyers follow the rules. Some people have kept cattle on the road in front of buildings for lack of open space in the Meradia haat area. Dhaka South authorities will remove them.
Aurangzeb Titu, the lessee of the market, claimed that the market was being run following the health rules and instructions.
"No cattle were kept in front of any pharmacy or super shop. We will evict them if anyone does," he added.
The High Court has directed that animals cannot be kept on roads. Poles cannot be placed there. If any of these is not met, legal action, including cancellation of the lease, will be taken against the lessee.
To prevent the epidemic, 46 conditions have been introduced which must be followed in 21 cattle markets in Dhaka, including two permanent ones.
One of the conditions is to set up a market in an open place. The lessee has to arrange masks, soap and disinfectant before opening the haat.
After visiting the two markets, it was seen that most of the people did not wear masks or did not wear them properly.
The cattle markets will be open till Eid day.