Dhaka, Sep 1 (UNB) – The smuggling of sacrificial animal rawhides from the country through different border points during Eid-ul-Azha has come down over the years due to strong vigilance by law enforcers, according to tanners and law enforcers.
“Rawhide smuggling has declined over the last 8-10 years due to strict measures taken by law enforcement agencies,” said General Secretary of Bangladesh Tanners’ Association (BTA) Shakhawat Ullah.
The volume of rawhide smuggling has been very insignificant over the last few years as law enforcement agencies were active and vigilant to prevent it, he told UNB.
Noting that the country’s tanneries collect 60 percent of their annual rawhides during Eid-ul Azha, Shakhawat said they estimated that they can procure some 80 lakh rawhides of sacrificial animals during Eid-ul Azha this year.
Of these, 50 lakh cowhides, 20 lakh goat rawhides, five lakh buffalo rawhides and five lakh sheep rawhides, he said.
According to BTA statistics, only 70 tanneries are now in operation at Savar Tannery Estate after being relocated from the capital’s Hazaribagh area. But there were 222 tannery industrial units at Hazaribagh, which were shutdown in April last by the government to force these to be shifted to Savar.
The tanneries increased their capacity while shifting to Savar Tannery Estate from Hazaribagh. So, the factories have the capacity to deal with all 80 lakh rawhides, Shakhawat said.
Police have taken all-out steps to check the possible smuggling of rawhide of sacrificial animals through different border points for six days from the Eid day.
The Police Headquarters ordered its field officials in frontier districts to strengthen their vigilance so that no single rawhide either legally or illegally can be sent outside the country.
“The rawhide smuggling reduced to almost zero level due to strict vigilance of law enforcement agencies during and after Eid-ul Azha in the last several years,” Assistant Inspector General (Confidential) of the Police Headquarters Moniruzzaman said while talking to UNB.
He said several border points, including Bhomra of Satkhira, Benapole, Portkhali, Kahara, Ragunathpur, Dihi, Chougachha of Jessore, Moheshpur of Jhenidah, several points of Chuadanga, Kushtia, Joypurhat and Chapainawabganj are vulnerable to rawhide smuggling.
“We’ve taken measures to strengthen vigilance along the border points with no barbaric fence. Our vigilance will continue till five days after the Eid-ul Azha,” Monir said.
Bangladesh Hide and Skin Merchant Association has recently sent a letter to the Police Headquarters requesting the police to take measures so that no vehicle carrying rawhides is allowed to cross Aminbazar Bridge of Gabtoli from the capital for five days after the Eid as part of checking rawhide smuggling.
The letter signed by its general secretary Tipu Sultan said the rawhide smuggling could be resisted in the last few years due to strong security measures of law enforcement agencies.
“But this year there’s a strong possibility of rawhide smuggling from Bangladesh as Indian Rupees fell against Bangladeshi Taka and the demand of rawhide has gone up in India. So, we’re requesting the police to take strong measures to prevent rawhide smuggling like the previous years,” it reads.
The DMP in coordination with Dhaka district police will prevent vehicle carrying rawhides from going outside the capital by setting up special checkposts at the city’s exit points.
The border points considered most vulnerable to smuggling by the law enforcers in the last few years are Benapole in Jessore, Burimari in Lalmonirhat, Akhaura in Brahmmanbaria, Sona Masjid in Chapainnawabganj, Hili in Dinajpur, Tetulia in Panchagarh, Teknaf in Cox's Bazar, Birol in Dinajpur, Satkhira, Nalitabari in Sherpur, Gowinghat in Sylhet, Damurhuda in Chuadanga, Feni, Haluaghat in Mymensingh, and Bhurungamari in Kurigram.
The country’s rawhide wholesale markets include Natore sadar, Palashbari in Gaibandha, Taraganj in Rangpur, Mataji in Naogaon, Rajarhat in Jessore, Iliyatganj in Comilla, Pakutiya in Tangail, Haluaghat in Mymensingh, Sambh-uganja, Kishoreganj Sadar, Gazipur, Tongi and Savar Aminabajara.