DG food unveiled corruptions in food procurement; launched stern actions. Irregularities and corruption emerge in food department on the backdrop of rapid food aid and relief by the government amid strong vigilance of Directorate General of Food The Directorate recently unveiled a series of irregularities including less receipt of procured rice instead of actual amount, payment of more money to dealers in lieu of their actual demand and discrepancies in rice quality. The Food Department unveiled over a dozen of corruption incidents in many districts across the country and punished many officials during last couple of months, Directorate General of Food, Sarwar Mahmud told Business Mirror on Thursday. “We unveiled corruption incidents at Bhairab, B Baria, Tarakandhi, Mymenshing and Dashmina, Patuakhali districts recently. We brought those officials into departmental action,” Mr. Sarwar said. Unfortunately, some local people want to protect officials who are involved in unethical activities, the DG Food moaned. A very strong vigilance is in the offing in Directorate General of Food so that any move of misappropriation can be identified soon after the incidence takes place. The Bangladesh government has decided to procure 19.5 lakh tonnes of Boro paddy and rice — both boiled and non-boiled — from farmers to ensure fair price of food grains. Most of the public money is pocketed by the country’s rice mill owners and middlemen (popularly known as fariah) due to lack of proper monitoring in the government’s procurement policy, according to a survey report prepared by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and Policy Research and Strategy Support Program (PRSSP). Earlier the government used to buy rice from the rice millers. Now, the Food Ministry is buying 8 lakh tonnes of paddy directly from the farmers to ensure fair price. In 2018-19, the total production of rice in country was 3.64 crore tonnes of which Boro rice accounted for 53.8 percent, Aman 38.6 percent and Aus only 7.6 percent. In 2019, paddy price in Bangladesh dropped due to a bumper harvest of Boro. Average paddy price was only Tk 17.42 per kg in January 2019 after Aman harvest but declined by 22 percent to Tk13.56 per kg in May 2019, according to Department of Agriculture Marketing (DAM 2020) report. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has again issued a stern warning against corruption. At this time of a global crisis encountered by the humanity, can one hope that people will take recourse to corruption and grabbing? Anyway, if anybody is found to adopt corrupt practices, they must be rewarded with severe punishment.

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