Theft of rice meant for poor raises concern

Tapos Kanti Das | Published: 01:15, Apr 06,2020


A section of ruling Awami League leaders and activists has allegedly got into misappropriation of rice meant for distributing among the poor across the country during a time when millions of people become jobless due to the government-announced public holiday to slow coronavirus spread.

Though the prime minister and AL president Sheikh Hasina on March 25 warned that strict actions would be taken against any kind of irregularities and misappropriation, reports received from districts in past one week show that a number of AL leaders and activists have links with reported misappropriation of rice.

The reports said that the police took legal steps against the suspects and arrested most of them.

Transparency International Bangladesh executive director Iftekharuzzaman termed the culture of making money by taking advantage of the weakness of people and going beyond the sense of humanity as a matter of concern.

He demanded exemplary punishment of the manipulators to stop recurrence of  such incidents.

The Bangladesh National Awami Party chairman Jebel Rahman Ghaani and secretary general M Golam Mostafa Bhuiyan in a statement on Sunday expressed concern over the mismanagement and corruption in government programmes to control COVID outbreak.

AL joint general secretary Mahbubul Alam Hanif said that if any party leader or activist was found involved in any irregularities taking the chance of present situation, he or she would have to face tough legal and organisational action.

According to the reports, eight members of Mirzapur union on Saturday submitted an application to Hathazari upazila chairman alleging that their AL-backed UP chairman Nurul Absar committed irregularities in distributing relief materials, especially rice, among the poor.

The police seized 18 sacks of government rice from the shop of AL activist Tariqul Islam Tareque, also brother of Southkhali union AL general secretary Hasanuzzaman Parvez, from Tafalbari Bazar, Sarankhola, Bagerhat on Saturday.

Police also arrested AL activist Abdullah-Al-Mamun, owner of Bhai Bhai Rice Mills at Manirampur upazila town in Jashore, and seized 555 sacks of government rice from his mill on Saturday afternoon.

Police on April 2 also seized 138 sacks of rice, meant for distributing among the poor under the government’s vulnerable group feeding programme, from the house of Kaligram union AL leader Ayat Ali at village Ratoal, Raninagar, Naogaon.

On April 1, police arrested Bardal union’s 7 number ward AL general secretary Mujibor Sana and seized 42 sacks of rice from his possession at two places of Bardal Bazar, Ashashuni, Satkhira.

On March 31, police arrested Shawkat Ali, president of Jatiya Party’s Gaurarang union under Sunamganj sadar upazila, and local VGF dealer and AL activist Biplab Sarker and seized 1,500 kilograms of rice meant for selling at Tk 10 per kg among the ultra-poor people.

On March 29, police arrested a rice dealer Abu Bakar Siddique at Sheikhpur Bazar, Shibchar, Madaripur, and seized 68 sacks of rice to be sold under the government’s food programme for the poor.

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