With a view to limiting the possibility of the sacrificial cattle markets turning into Coronavirus hotspots, attendance at this year's haats across the country will be strictly regulated by the authorities.
Local Government and Rural Development (LGRD) Minister Md Tajul Islam disclosed as much in an online interview with UNB.
"Entry to haats will be regulated this year. Only one member of a family will be permitted to enter the market through a specific entry point," he said.
Asked about the extra number of people besides buyers and sellers who crowd around haats usually, Minister Tajul confirmed that it is they who will face the severest restrictions this timne around.
"We will try to prevent the entry of any spectator."
Asked about maintaining health guidelines and social distancing in the capital and other cities and municipalities, the Minister said a meeting with the Ministries of Commerce and Home was held in this regard.
Underscoring the importance of the act of sacrifice at Eid-ul-Adha for Muslims, the attendees at the meeting said there would be no restrictions on sacrificing animals.
However, recognising the possibility of a busy day in the haats turning into what is known as 'super-spreader event', the government also backed the launch of a digital platform for buying and selling cattle.
"But it's not easy to purchase animals online, the way we usually purchase clothes online," Minister Tajul said, before carefully adding: "Despite that, I urge people to purchase sacrificial animals from online platforms."
"Even if a small number of people purchase sacrificial animals from the online market, it will reduce gathering in other markets," he added.
The LGRD Minister urged all concerned to arrange each haat over a larger space than usual in a disciplined way.
Urging people to enter animal markets being equipped with protective gears like face masks and caps, the Minister said "Only one member from a family is encouraged to come to the market".
However, it is not possible for the government to totally ignore the fervour and enthusiasm that families experience over the entire process of qurbani - from selecting the cow or goat or whatever else, to completing the purchase, bringing it home and nurturing it all the way through to that final, fatal act in the Almighty's name.
Therefore another meeting will be held in this regard, to finalize just how far to go with regulating people's behaviour.
Besides the government, some private business entities have brought digital cattle markets (Qurbanir haat) to help the mass people in carrying out their religious duties overcoming the Covid-19 threat.
Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC), Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Division, e-CAB, and Bangladesh Dairy Farmers' Association (BDFA) jointly launched the Digital Haat on July 7.
Digital Haat's website is associated with 51 selling partners.
Website Address: https://www.digitalhaat.net/
Sacrificial animals are available on Bengal Meat website under the price range of Tk 30,000 to Tk 40 lakhs. Their displayed cattle vary in size and weight (50kg to 500kg).
Website Address: https://qurbani.bengalmeat.com/
Contact No. 09678-444-555 (Monday to Saturday, 9 AM - 6 PM)
Kings Red Meat
The Facebook cattle shop named 'Kings Red Meat' has also launched an online market for customers with the low-to-medium budget along with slaughtering and home delivery service.
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/kingsredmeat/
Sadeeq Agro has also initiated to sell cattle through their website along with home delivery service after slaughtering.
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Sadeeq-AGRO-620716257950017/
Contact: Call 01771777116, 01980008886, 01730135969
Besides these digital cattle markets, there are some other websites where sacrificial animals are available: