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Massive irregularities in  dumping sacks to prevent Jamuna erosion  alleged

Massive irregularities in dumping sacks to prevent Jamuna erosion alleged

Roving Correspondent back from Tangail

It is alleged that Food officials of Bhuapur Upazila in Tangail district are procuring substandard rice from local rice mills that have been closed for years due to numerous complexities.

This substandard rice is distributed in various food friendly programs of the government by taking bribes from local rice mill owners. Such information was obtained by visiting the several rice mills of Bhuapur Upazila recently.

According to the investigation, upazila food controller and LSD (food warehouse) officials collected rice from the owners of 11 rice mills in the upazila according to the instructions of the Ministry of Food and the Directorate of Food.

Although there are rules to collect rice from them under different conditions, in exchange for bribes, rice mill owners buy substandard rice from outside and sell it to the government at a higher price. Except for two rice mills in the upazila, all the mills remain closed for years. But these rice mills have been shown to be operational on paper.

The owners of rice mills are selling different varieties of rice including Aman, Boro, declared by the government every year. But according to the conditions, before the government collects the rice, a certifying officer of the Food Regulatory Office will attend the rice mill and inspect the rice production process from paddy and issue the rice certification. The victims have questioned where the rice mills are not operational, how the certifying officer gave the certificate to the mill owners.

Ekota and Bhai Bhai rice mills in Bahadipur area of upazila, Mongla rice mill in Faldar, Arafat rice mill in Koera area, Mandal rice, Sarkar rice mill in Kagmaripara were found to be closed for a long time. Besides, several rice mills of the areas are currently working for making fish and chicken feed. As most of the mills of the areas are closed, local rice dealers are buying substandard rice from elsewhere and supplying rice to the government.

According to the Upazila Food Control Office sources, 4 thousand 486 sacks of Aman boiled rice weighing 30 kg were collected from 11 rice mills of the upazila in the last December of 2021-2022 financial year.

Last May, 2 thousand 528 sacks of Boro rice, weighing 30 kg, were collected and kept in the warehouse through local rice dealers. For this, the certifying officer will visit the mill as per the conditions and will be present at the mill premises and inspect the rice production process from paddy and issue the rice certification certificate. Allocated rice shall be supplied to LSD using color sorter technology. Allocated rice shall be supplied to LSD using color sorter technology. But none of these conditions are implemented.

Several mill owners said on condition of anonymity, concerned officials have to pay a bribe of two thousand taka per ton to deliver rice. There is also labor cost. In this connection, a mill owner has to pay a bribe of one lakh taka if he wants to supply 50 tons of rice. Rice is bought from dealers only to secure the license. In this way, we can make some profit. This is how rice is distributed throughout the country. No mill owner can directly deliver rice to LSD (food ware house) Ayanal, the owner of Faldar Mongla Rice Mill, said that the rice mill has not been producing rice for a long time.

As a result, I have to buy rice from the local dealers to supply rice food office. The dealers deliver the rice to the food warehouse, we only sign in the papers. There is some benefit in this. But we have to pay more bribes if we go to give rice directly.

Denying the complaint, Abdul Halim, Upazila Food Warehouse Officer said that the matter of collecting rice was looked at by the food control officer. But never accept any types of substandard rice.

Kazi Hamidul, Upazila Food Officer said that the millers give rice directly to the food warehouse. How the millers deal with the godown officer is up to them. After verification, rice is collected from the millers. However, if rice mills are closed, necessary action will be taken to cancel their license.

District Food Control Officer Mohammad Tanveer Hossain said that currently there is no rice in the market under any government program. VGD activities are also closed, so there is no opportunity to buy rice from outside dealers.

And if the rice mills are closed then necessary measures will be taken before the next Amon season by inspecting the ground. Those who were in charge earlier made agreements with the owners to procure rice even after the mills were closed. It won't happen in the future.

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