Millers Stop Rice Supply from Sunday
Sunday, 11 July 2010

Millers across the country have decided to stop supplying rice to the government warehouses from Sunday after a meeting with the government representatives failed to resolve the discriminatory cash incentive issue on Saturday.

"We've also decided to halt supply of rice until there is a positive response from the government side," K M Layek Ali, convenor of Bangladesh Auto, Major and Husking Mill Owners' Association, told bdnews24.com.

The millers association, who are already under contract to supply rice to the government, are demanding the same incentive the food directorate recently announced for new suppliers, who would get Tk 3 a kg.

The government signed an agreement with new suppliers for procuring 2.5 lakh tonnes of rice and decided to give the incentive to them aimed at boosting the procurement drive.

A government official said the food directorate has been discussing the issue with the millers to find a solution.

"We hope they would change the 'unwise' decision," food directorate additional secretary Abdul Awal Hawlader told bdnews24.com.

The programme might be withdrawn by Saturday night through talks, he said. "The government is aware of the seriousness of the issue of uninterrupted collection of Boro rice".

Food minister Abdur Razzaque and secretary Barun Dev Mitra are currently in Manila to attend an international seminar, while food directorate director general Ahmed Hossain Khan is in India to finalise the rice import deal.

Terming the arrangement discriminatory, the association leaders at a press conference at Joypurhat Press Club on Friday urged the government to bring all mills under the incentive coverage.

Earlier on July 1, food minister Abdur Razzak said the government decided to give the incentive to new suppliers considering the fact that the market price of rice is higher than the price set by the government.

Layek, however, said the government officials were contacting millers to withdraw the programme. "But they could not give any assurance."

Source: bdnews24.com

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