Eid-ul-Azha, the second most important religious festival for Muslim is now over but the effect and memories of it are not. As ever, people of our country usually travel to hometowns to celebrate the occasion with their loved ones. The festival, in fact, gives people a greater chance of togetherness with many plan to arrange friends or family get-together, some like to have a staycation with their own flesh and blood, some even a choose to have a fake-ation, where time is actually spent dealing with work, not too hard in these days of internet connectivity. No matter how the vacation is spent, mass exodus of holidaymakers begins during the course of the event, so does the hassles as regular as the clock work every year.So, this piece looks at different aspects connected with the just concluded Eid as a tour d’horizon.
Like every year, hassle of collecting tickets of different modes of transports this time too was not an exception. Ticket seekers were seen waiting in long queues, some even overnight, in front of ticket counters across the city to buy it for their destinations. Allegations against transport operators of selling tickets in inflated price, creating artificial crisis, or selling those in black-markets were widespread and authentic, although the responsible authorities have hardly succeeded in curbing the perennial malpractices. To make matters worse, taking advantage of easy affordable and accessible communication technology, some unscrupulous people, in attempt to make quick bucks, openly resort to offering tickets double or triple the original price on social media after collecting with the connivance of transport workers.Hard on the heels of tricking hassles, were the ordeals of journey to the outlying districts. Bus, launch or train had to leave the city much behind the schedule due to various reasons, including traffic jam on the highways, poor navigability on the waterways, train derailment or engine glitches. However, home-goers travelling on buses were the worst sufferers as the hundreds of motor vehicles were stuck at different points due to unending long tailbacks. Heavy traffic, dilapidated or unmade road for piecemeal development or extension work, rickety vehicles, cattle-laden trucks, setting up cattle markets along the roads and inadequate preparation of government departments to handle large traffic are among the reasons for the endless traffic jam. Apart from these, breakdown of vehicles, mostly city services which are unsuitable for long route, illegally plying the highways for making windfall profit during Eid, was another contributor to the sufferings of holidaymakers. Moreover, the death of at least 50 people in road mishaps in just three days of Eid holidays does not bode well for the country.
Buying, slaughtering, and disposing of cattle wastes or by-products are indispensable parts of the Eid. Favourable weather condition as there was no nagging rain or flood helped trading in animals to go on without incident. But the nosedive inprices just a day before Eid made the traders and dairy farmers worried. Even now it seems that Bangladesh is acquiring self-sufficiency in livestock. According to livestock ministry, around 5 million cows alone were prepared for the Eid. Of them, about 1 million remained unsold as per the Bangladesh Dairy Farmers Association. Overall, more than 11.5 million indigenous animals were sacrificed during the Eid this year. This proves the combined efforts of the government, dairy farmers, and individuals have effectively ridden out the storm that brew and raised the concern about deficit of sacrificial animals in the country after the Indian authority’s strict announcement of stopping cross boarder cattle smuggling two years ago.
Disposing of the wastes after slaughtering animals is no less than an uphill task in a city where the scope is limited and the public awareness is at a low ebb. Building up a head of steam, the mayor of Dhaka south city corporation has been successful in living up to the pledge of clearing the wastes in 48 hours.
During this Eid, slump in rawhide prices not only brought about heavy blow to the seasonal and small traders but also put a damper on the joy of Eid of the poor and distressed who have the right to the money earned from selling it. Although the tanners blame the lack of bank loan for the disaster, allegation has it that they purportedly did this in syndication to make a quick profit. Be that as it may, a thorough investigation to unearth the reasons behind the 10-year-low price plunge and made it public is the need of the hour.
On the whole, the annual event comes to us every year, so are the associated issues we have to encounter with. Therefore, sticking-plaster measures to the issues may not always be a good idea. Rather, getting to the bottom of it and thinking up solutions may be. To take the hassles out of ticketing, online ticketing system should be made mandatory for all the bus operators and available all the year round, including during the Eid.
A ban on boneshakers plying the highways, and setting up cattle markets along the roads, checking vehicle and driving licenses as well as effectively enforcing the ban can ease up tailback and cut road accidents. In addition, expediting road development work through proper coordination among various agencies, making alternative roads before starting road construction or extension work as well as continued monitoring and repair activities can make a big difference in reducing traffic.A high profile committee should probably be formed to catch up with the manipulators of rawhide prices, and exemplary punishment must be meted out to the culprits to save the leather industry, which has been one of the cash cows of our economy for many years now.
Protecting own environment and keeping it safe and hygienic are the moral duties of every citizen. Thus, slaughtering animals and disposing of its wastes in designated places are the responsibility of the law-abiding citizens. And the onus of doing the rest lies on the government authorities, which the city authorities under the supervision of mayors have performed meticulously, at least this time around.
In the end, Eid-ul-Azha is not a mere religious festival. Given that an estimated taka 31,000 crore worth of economic activities involve the event, it has a great economic significance. The festival also bring bonanza for bus and launch operators and commodity traders and fuels the sales of refrigerators and freezers. Above all, it ensures the supply of half of the annual requirement for raw materials of the country's second-biggest export earning sector: the leather and leather goods industry. Let the government get its act together so that the celebration and related activities of the occasion go like a dream every year.
The writer is an Associate Engineer, Thakral Information Systems Pvt. Ltd