Food rationing mulled for poor

Posted: ফেব্রুয়ারি 3, 2009 in Food security

The government is actively considering reintroduction of food rationing system for the low income group of the population, following its imposition of a ban on rice export till May 5 of this year.

The moves were initiated in an effort to increase supply of the nation’s staple to the domestic market, Commerce Minister Faruk Khan, and Food and Disaster Management Minister Abdur Razzak told the parliament yesterday in response to lawmakers’ queries.

Contacted by The Daily Star, the food minister said government officials are now working on the reintroduction of the system, while Razzak said, “We’re trying to reintroduce the system as soon as possible.”

The food rationing system was in place earlier to feed the destitute and low income group people.

Razzak also said the government will publish a whitepaper on the corruption in allocating relief materials during the last BNP-led coalition government.

He told the parliament that Awami League-led current government will prepare a list mentioning the amount of relief materials allocated to each lawmaker of the previous parliament, and whether the relief materials were misused.

The commerce minister informed the House about various government measures for reducing prices of rice including increasing rice supply to the market, controlling market prices, and stopping extortion in the transport sector.

The government already directed all district commissioners concerned to monitor markets to observe the grain reserve and public demand ratio, and to send reports on it every week, he added.

He also said steps have already been taken to hold regular meetings with importers, wholesalers, and retailers.

Faruk Khan said a meeting of the authorities concerned will he held in March to fix the rice procurement price of the government during the upcoming boro season, and to set a target.

A high powered committee has also been formed to make Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) more active, he said.

The commerce minister said if any specific allegation is found against any dishonest food grain trader, stringent punitive measures will be taken against the person according to the law.

Similarly if such allegations against any government official or employee are found to be true through investigations, similar tough punitive actions will be taken against them too.

He said in the past, allegations of increasing prices of essentials through syndication were reported against a few unscrupulous entrepreneurs, adding that a few importers remain in a convenient position to manipulate market prices of some essential commodities.

The daily star 04.02.2009

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