A cattle market has been set up in Savar’s Ulail without permission from local administration, on the same ground that municipality authorities earlier failed to get a lessee for despite inviting tenders twice.
For the last three years, Savar municipality authorities have been leasing out the Ulail Balur Matth, a land beside the Dhaka-Aricha highway, for a temporary cattle haat ahead of Eid-ul-Azha. The municipality earned Tk 44 lakh from it in 2016, Tk 48 lakh in 2017 and Tk 62 lakh last year, according to official sources.
This year, two tenders were submitted for the market but both were rejected for being incomplete. Municipal authorities called for tenders a second time but found no bidders.
However, a cattle market has sprouted on the grounds.
Sharf Uddin Ahmed Choudhury, chief executive officer of Savar municipality, said they did not award any lease, as no one bought tender applications in the second phase of invitations.
This correspondent visited the cattle market on Monday evening, where livestock were already seen lined up for sale, and loudspeakers blared invitations to locals to visit the haat.
One Liton, who was sitting at a counter inside the market, said the leaseholder of the market was Saifur Rahman Sumon. He, however, could not say who Sumon leased it from.
Atikur Rahman Atik, Savar upazila unit president of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL), was also seen sitting inside the counter, among others. Asked about Sumon, Atikur said he was an associate of Sumon. The cattle market has permission, he said, but could not provide any documents. He also tried to intimidate this correspondent.
Sumon was contacted over phone numerous times; he picked up the calls twice but avoided questions about the haat.
Savar Upazila Nirbahi Officer Parvezur Rahman also told The Daily Star yesterday that the cattle market is illegal.
“We have asked a magistrate and Savar Model Police Station’s officer-in-charge to stop the market, and directives have already been issued to the cattle market organisers to close it,” said Parvezur Rahman, adding that if they do not close the market, a mobile court will be conducted there.
He also questioned why the municipal mayor did not take action against an illegal cattle market set up in an area under his jurisdiction.
“On behalf of the municipality, we had applied to Deputy Commissioner’s office for approval for a makeshift cattle market, but we were told no cattle market can be set up here, as the grounds are next to Dhaka-Aricha highway,” said Abdul Goni, mayor of Savar municipality.
When asked about the UNO’s remarks, the mayor said, “We have already sent notices to different offices including the DC office to close down the market, as we do not have magistracy.”
Savar Model Police Station’s Officer-in-Charge AFM Sayeed told this newspaper that he has been informed by the UNO and mayor about the illegal market. “We will go to the haat and provide necessary assistance when we are asked to accompany a magistrate,” he said.
Meanwhile, the cattle market was still open till filing of this report at 8pm yesterday.