The Gopalpur upazila administration in Tangail began investigating links between food department officials and government-appointed dealers after rice meant for distribution among the poor was found stored at a warehouse owned by a local Awami League leader on Monday.
The police on Monday seized 90 sacks of rice meant for sale among low income people at Tk 10 per kg from a warehouse at Nagdashimla, owned by upazila Awami League agricultural affairs secretary Abul Hossain.
Abul Hossain is the father of Rais Uddin, a dealer appointed by the government appointed for selling rice among the poor at Nagdashimla union.
Upazila nirbahi officer Dilruba Sharmin told New Age on Wednesday that they raided the warehouse on information about stealing of government rice by the dealer for a long time.
‘We have enough reason to suspect the dealer of stealing government rice,’ said Dilruba.
She said samples collected from the sacks were similar to the rice the government was selling through its dealers among the poor at subsidised prices.
During the seizure, Rais claimed that many of the low income people sold the rice back to them, said Dilruba.
She said that government dealers could not buy back the distributed rice.
‘It’s a violation of the law,’ she added.
Abul Hossain and Rais Uddin could not be reached for comments as they allegedly went into hiding.
The government programme to sell rice at a subsidised price aims at helping the poor amid rising prices of essentials. A kg of coarse rice now sells for Tk 44 in the market.
Tangail deputy commissioner of food GM Faruk Hossain Patwary said that they distributed both imported and locally produced Aman rice under the programme.
‘There are 1,50,000 card holders receiving the rice through 20 dealers,’ said Faruk.
In April, rice meant for sale among low income people through Open Market Sale in Dhaka was found being diverted to black market.
On April 12, two poor men were hit by bullets when a government appointed dealer for selling rice at Tk 10 per kg in Kurigram, known for its stark poverty, opened fire on villagers who were protesting against the sale of no rice to them at the subsidised price for several weeks.