Though facilities for slaughtering animals are very scarce in Dhaka, a modern and environment-friendly slaughterhouse has remained idle at Mohakhali in the capital for the last few years.
Sources said the slaughterhouse was set up to ensure the sale of hygiene meat at Gulshan, Mohakhali and Banani kitchen markets by testing the health of animals but Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC), the authorities of the slaughterhouse, could not persuade traders to use it.
DNCC officials said the slaughterhouse has dedicated manpower like a veterinary surgeon, inspector, seal man and cleaners.
Besides, it has numerous facilities like rainwater harvesting system, designated rooms for keeping animals and their health testing, preserving skin, horns, bones and offal of the animals, and offices for the veterinary doctors but the slaughterhouse remains unused for the lack of proper initiatives.
Sources said DNCC started constructing the slaughterhouse with the funding of Islamic Relief Bangladesh in October 2015 and completed the work in February 2016.
The slaughterhouse was inaugurated in December 2018 and used for a few days but the operation was closed later.
During a recent visit to the slaughterhouse, this correspondent found that it was under lock and key while officials and employees were present on the building premises.
Khadimul Rased, a senior programmer of Islamic Relief, said that they spent Tk 9.2 million to set up the house.
“The two-storied building has the facilities of slaughtering 200 animals per day along with other facilities. We set up the slaughterhouse considering the demand because the DNCC had decided to shift Karwanbazar kitchen market to Mohakhali and the bus stop to Uttara.”
“It is the duty of DNCC to ensure all animals slaughtered in the house after health test. We have set up it and handed it over to the authorities in 2018,” he also said, adding that Islamic Relief was eager to extend all kinds of support if they take the initiative to reopen it.
Inspector of the Slaughterhouse Sheikh Ekramul Kabir said, “The chance to use the slaughterhouse is very slim because the Mohakhali DNCC market building has turned into a COVID-19 dedicated hospital. Later, it will become a hospital. It will be very risky for virus infection to operate the slaughterhouse there.”
Talking to the Daily Sun, DNCC Mayor Atiqul Islam said, “The slaughterhouse has remained unused for the last two years as people are not interested in slaughtering their animals here. We have no plan with the slaughterhouse now as we have set up a COVID-19 dedicated hospital there.”
He said, “We will arrange the accommodation for the security officials of the hospitals in the building for a temporary period. We will think about the use of it when the COVID-19 is over,” he also said.
Adil Mohammed Khan, general secretary of Bangladesh Institute of Planners, said, “It is the duty of City Corporation to ensure the animals slaughtering in a designated site. The authorities should encourage the city dwellers through policy incentive and mass awareness.”
The urban planner also said the DNCC should impose restrictions on slaughtering animals in the open and make it binding to use the slaughterhouse.
“In all modern cities, there is slaughterhouse to ensure the hygiene of animals’ meat. When we need the facilities more and more, it is ironic that the modern slaughterhouse remains unused,” said Adil, also a professor of Urban and Regional Planning at Jahanagirnagar University.