The High Court Division on Wednesday in a rule asked the government to explain in four weeks why it would not be directed to purchase paddy and rice directly from the farmers as was stipulated in the Domestic Food Grain Procurement Policy 2017.
A vacation bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Md Khairul Alam issued the rule after hearing a public interest litigation writ petition filed by Jatiya Krishak Samity’s general secretary Aminul Islam Golap on August 18.
As respondents, secretaries of the ministries of food and agriculture and director general of Directorate of Food were asked to reply to the rule.
Petitioner’s lawyer Firoz Alam submitted that the government was supposed to purchase paddy and rice from the farmers directly as per the Domestic Food Grain Procurement Policy 2017.
But it had been procuring the paddy and rice reportedly from the middlemen including the godown owners in violation of the policy and, therefore, the farmers were not getting fair prices for their paddies, Foroz Alam argued in his statement.
He said that the government was yet to make any effective intervention in regulating the purchases made by rice mill owners and middlemen, who forced farmers into selling harvests at prices lower than the production cost.
In his statement he said that the farmers’ community was not getting the opportunity to sell their paddy/rice at the declared rate.
In his statement he said that the government intervention in setting the price of 40 kilograms of boro paddy at Tk 1,040, did not safeguard the farmers against losses as they were forced to sell the paddy for prices between Tk 500 and Tk 600, which was less than a day labourer’s daily wage.
He submitted that farmers were reported to be counting Tk 300 in losses for 40 kilograms of paddy this season on the largest wholesale rice market at Ashuganj.
He testified that because of declining boro prices across the country, farmers held protests across the country.
He submitted that a farmer in Tangail even burnt his crop without harvesting out of frustration.
As the farmers struggled to bring harvest home because of labour shortage, students of different educational institutions volunteered to help, he said in his statement.
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