More than 20,000 rice and wheat traders across the country received licences from the Directorate General of Food under the Control of Essential Commodities Act, 1956 in October, pushing up the number of licensed food grain traders in the country to nearly 60,000.
A senior official of the food directorate said that they did not have exact statistics on the number of food grain traders in the country but they presumed that more or less one lakh retailers, wholesalers, rice millers and flour millers were running their business across the country.
On October 2, the government asked unlicensed wholesalers, rice and wheat importers, rice millers and flour millers having a tonne per day transaction to take licence from the food directorate within October 30.
‘In the month of October, we issued more than 20,000 new licences to the food grain traders and are processing a good number of other applications,’ Kazi Nurul Islam, director (supply, distribution and marketing) of the Directorate General of Food, told New Age on Monday.
He said that as per the government direction the DGF instructed its officers up to the upazila level to bring all the food grain traders under regulations.
The DGF published leaflets and held meetings to aware traders so that they take licence and run their business following rules.
Against the backdrop of a shortfall in rice stock and the price hike of the staple, food minister Md Qamrul Islam on October 2 said that the food grain traders, including importers and wholesalers, must have to take licences from the DGF.
The number of licensed food grain traders and millers in the country was 39,569 when the minister came up with the direction.
‘We do not have exact statistics on the number of food grain traders in the country but we presume that more or less one lakh retailers, wholesalers, rice millers and flour millers are running their business across the country,’ Nurul Islam said.
He said that the DGF had recently asked its officers up to the upazila level to conduct mobile court drives against the traders who would not comply with the government order regarding licence.
‘We have also asked our upazila-level officers for conducting a survey on food grain traders so that no one can run their business outside the purview of the government’s regulations and the government can get the actual picture of food grain stock situation in the country,’ Nurul Islam said.
As per the Control of Essential Commodities Act, 1956, submission of fortnightly report to the DGF on stock situation is mandatory for all licensed traders.
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