Dhaka, Bangladesh
Holy Eid-ul-Azha today with progs trimmed

Belated buying binge, exodus for fiesta

Holy Eid-ul-Azha today with progs trimmed

News Report: A belated buying binge for cattle in Dhaka overnight and on the last day dried up limited animal supplies before the holy Eid-ul-Azha happening today with programmess trimmed for health emergency. Also was a last-minute exodus Friday from the capital for the fiesta, after unlikely pre-eid days on the transport front with bus and rail stations and launch terminals having remained virtually vacant. Ferry services went haywire, launches looked crammed and buses overcrowded as people finally massed out after wavering for health alert to avert community transmission of the novel coronavirus--and southbound and north-headed traffic routes got clogged, media reports said. Amid the mad rush on roads and waterways, the universally designed health-protection rules were bent on buses, launches and ferries as also in Dhaka city's makeshift and existing cattle markets. "People in bare face or with masks down the chin were seen in haste and haggling over few bulls or goats before buyout in the late afternoon," says a market survey. As the mercury of demand rose so did the price indices, which upended initial slump days' slump as lamented by the traders. Supershops like Swapno that had advertised beef sale at Tk 555 per kg ran out of the meet before noon, perhaps as the price shot up at the open market, said shoppers. People lined up at a few butchery shops where per-kg beef sold at Tk 700, or above, a kilogram. The dearth was attributed to supply-side crunch for corona restrictions and flood havoc on the one hand and people being in two minds amid forewarning against open eid congregations and cattle buying and slaughtering in the wake of the pandemic. There had been no usual exodus or buying binge, had been limited cattle buy for sacrificing also because many have lost affordsbility. Restrictrictive congregation and movement also mark the ambience of Eid-ul-Azha this time in Bangladesh, and elsewhere in the Muslim world too. The holy Eid-ul-Azha commences today in the country for a fiesta sans much of its mirth as diseases and death from the pandemic--in Bangladesh and across the globe--are matters of everyday announcement for around half a year now. Yet, with scare of corona contagion hovering around, many of devout Muslims went on a last-minute scramble at open cattle markets particularly in the capital to buy sacrificial animals after initial wavering. On the occasion of the religious festival, coming following an exceptional hajj with a select group of 10,000 pilgrims already residing in Saudi Arabia, President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina greeted people in the country and Muslim world in messages underpinned with health advisory. Many losing jobs had already left Dhaka while many dropped travel plan for celebrating the occasion at native homes with near and dear ones in fear of community transmission of the highly infectious virus that has so far outwitted medical scientists as well as mighty rulers. So there were hardly any crowds of homebound people at bus and rail stations. However, there were seen crowds of southbound people at launch terminals and northbound ones at bus stations after the last office day before the eid holiday. "Heath rules got trampled," says a spot account of the scrambles. A three-day public holiday for the Eid-ul-Azha, which commemorates a symbolic sacrifice of son Ismail by prophet Ibrahim, began Friday. The state order, this time, is "say your eid prayer at the nearest mosque" as medical experts ring the alarm bell again, the way they did during Eid-ul-Fitr, that a 'second wave' of corona transmission could be created for open congregation and Qurbani. Rampaging through Bangladesh at a rather high rate yet, the novel coronavirus epidemic had forced thousands of Eid-holidaymakers to ditch plans to leave Dhaka for their home towns and villages in a bid to keep their loved ones safe. “I can’t travel to my village due to the coronavirus outbreak. My child will desperately miss his grandmother and aunts,” said a female insurance employee, who celebrates Eid with her family every year. “Community transmission of COVID-19 has begun over the last one month. The number of coronavirus patients is also increasing at an alarming rate in our village. That scares me the most,” she added. In addition to the fear of coronavirus infection, economic hardship and flooding in large swathes of Bangladesh have added to people’s woes at this Eid. Meanwhile, the government had asked employees and apparel workers not to leave their places of work during the Eid holiday. Advance train tickets, mostly controlled by the black-marketeers, became readily available. “Train tickets are available every day as the number of passengers has dropped sharply,” railway employee Hannan Masud said. The pandemic forced many low-wage earners to leave Dhaka in June and July, he added. “Around 300,000 people have already left Dhaka since the pandemic broke out in Bangladesh. They started to leave Dhaka during the lockdown which was designed to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Many left the city before Eid-ul-Fitr, most of whom are unlikely return to Dhaka any time soon.” An exceptional hajj of 10,000 pilgrims took plsce Thursday while a cautious qurbani preparation was there in Bangladesh, as also elsewhere, amid a grim global health emergency. A digital way of skipping the life- threatening hazard is in place, under both government and private initiatives, thanks to innovations of modern science. Online 'Ful Qurbani Service' gained ground amid the corona scare. Restrictions of different sorts also apply to eid congregations and qurbani preparations the world over for the health risks of worst kind in a century since the 1918 Spanish flu after the First World War. As such, the trend of online booking for qurbani-related services provided by professionals at their own facility – known as “Full Qurbani Service” – was rising across the country ahead of the holy fiesta at Eid-ul-Azha. Though it is a relatively lesser- known sector in Bangladesh, several companies are known to have offered such hassle-free service related to religious sacrifice to their customers for years. When booked online ahead of eid, a service-provider will slaughter sacrificial animals and process and package the meat at their slaughterhouses and conveniently deliver the meat to the customer’s home. The service has been getting a good response from city-dwellers this year due to the obligations of social- distancing measures and the possible unavailability of butchers amid the deadly Covid-19 pandemic. A number of online platforms have launched such services throughout the country, with many among them doing it for the first time. In compliance with hygiene rules and maintaining social distancing, a total of six Eid congregations will be held at the National Baitul Mukarram Mosque, the first one at 7am. “Like every year, a total of six Eid jamaats will be held at Baitul Mukarram National Mosque one after another on the occasion of Eid-ul Azha,” said a release issued by the Islamic Foundation Thursday. The first Jamaat will be held at 7am with Hafez Mufti Maulana M Mizanur Rahaman, senior Imam of the mosque, conducting the jamaat, said the release. The second Eid Jamaat will be held at 7:50 am and the third one at 8:45 am. Maulana Mahiuddin Kashem will conduct the fourth Jamaat at 9:35am. The fifth Jamaat, conducted by Hafez Maulana Waliur Rahman Khan, will be held at 10:30am. Maulana Muhammad Abdur Rab Mia will conduct the sixth and last Jamaat at 11:10am. Special sessions of eid prayer may also take place at the site to accommodate all as open-air congregations are restricted, sources said.

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