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Bangladesh - February 28, 2024

Officials behind rice market manipulation

Food Minister invites meeting on Feb 29

Syed Nasir Hossain : The rice market can’t be kept normal due to the negligence, carelessness and greed of some dishonest officers and employees at the field level of the food department. It is their responsibility to see whether traders are complying with the food grain license conditions given by the food department. They are not performing government duties properly. They work for the government but protect the interests of dishonest businessmen. These dishonest officials are behind the manipulation in the rice market. The food ministry and directorate are embarrassed by their duplicity. As a result, the Ministry of Food is doubtful about the 100% implementation (See Page-2)
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of the circular issued by the Ministry of Food on February 21, making it mandatory to write the variety of rice, name of miller and miller, date of production, weight and price on rice sacks.
Because the past work record of dishonest field level officials of food department is not satisfactory. Food stocking, market stability and normal supply cannot be ensured by circulars only if they do not carry out their duties with integrity and sincerity. The food minister is calling the field officials to Dhaka privately to implement the government measures. Initially, the Food Minister and Secretary will hold a meeting with the Regional Food Officers (RC-Food) and District Food Officers (DC-Food) at the Food Building on February 29. Upazila Food Controllers (TCF) and Food Inspectors will then be called separately. News from related sources.
When asked about this, Food Minister Sadhan Chandra Majumdar told Daily Industry that they are being called to talk about the problems in the field. Let the meeting happen first. After the meeting it will be informed why the meeting has been called.
According to the relevant sources of the Ministry of Food, the officials and employees working in the field administration of the Food Department are directly involved in the storage of grain. Without their close support, unscrupulous traders have no chance of hoarding. The announcement of the Prime Minister and the running of the Food Minister are not correcting them from their misdeeds. They issue multiple food grain licenses in the name of a trader. They do not properly monitor the amount of paddy and rice stocked in any warehouse in favor of any license. They do not check whether the amount of paddy and rice stocked against each warehouse and mill is correct or not. Again, it was seen that the traders are stocking more than the amount of paddy and rice mentioned in the documents. These images were captured during the food department’s operation in January and February.
More than one concerned officer gave an example and said, suppose there is an opportunity to buy 50 tons of paddy against a food grain license. Where to store this 50 tons of rice, what is the storage capacity of the warehouse? Which mill will turn the paddy into rice and what is the husking capacity of the mill etc. is the responsibility of the field level officials. They are also responsible for checking the electricity bill of the mill where the rice is sold.
A mill owner said that his mill has the capacity to sell 10 tons of rice daily. In that case, the food officials will start the mill and see whether his words are true or not. How long can the mill run 10 tons of rice? They are also responsible for seeing how many units of electricity have been used and how much has been billed. But several officials of the Ministry of Food told that they are not fulfilling these duties properly.
A section of the field administration officials of the Food Department have been accused of taking special benefits from unscrupulous traders for a long time. Although the dishonest officials are profiting in this way, the government is in trouble due to the instability of the foodstuff market, besides, the dishonest businessmen are turning into rich merchants overnight by cutting the pockets of the common people.
Just one day after the 12th National Assembly elections, the price of rice suddenly increased by Tk 2 to Tk 6 per kg depending on the type. There is a commotion in the country due to the increase in the price of rice during the peak season. Unscrupulous businessmen committed this crime before the cabinet was sworn in. Taking responsibility, the food minister and the secretary called the mill owners (millers) to the food department. Want to know the reason for the increase in the price of rice during the peak season. But as the rice mill owners could not give any kind of response, they promised to reduce the price of rice by setting a time limit of 4 days.
But as the price of rice did not come down in the market as promised, the Ministry of Food conducted market surveillance team and mobile court at divisional and district level respectively. In this, the real face of those involved in creating instability in the rice market was caught by the top officials of the food department. That is why RC Foods and DC Foods will be called on February 29 and asked to explain the problems found in their jurisdictions. You will be warned not to do the mistakes and misdeeds done in the past in the coming days. Still, if anyone indulges in the same misdeeds as before, strict legal action will be taken against them. In the next step, upazila food controllers and inspectors will be called.

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