Govt restarts OMS of rice Jan 9 and continue VGF programme
Friday, 04 January 2008

The government decided to restart open market sale (OMS) of rice from January 9 in urban and municipal areas and continue VGF programme across the country.

Govt restarts OMS of rice Jan 9 and continue VGF programmeThe government decided to restart open market sale (OMS) of rice from January 9 in urban and municipal areas and continue VGF programme across the country.

The vulnerable group feeding (VGF) programme in non-Sidr districts was wound up on December 31, but now it would continue to meet the present needs.

Chief Adviser of the caretaker government Dr Fakhruddin Ahmed was apprised of the decisions as he called a meeting Thursday at his office to know the latest food situation and procurement status.

Finance and Commerce Adviser Dr Mirza Azizul Islam, Food Adviser Tapan Chowdhury, Agricultural Adviser Dr CS Karim, Foreign Adviser Dr Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury and Secretaries concerned and officials were present at the meeting.

In the meeting the Chief Adviser asked the authorities concerned to pursue countries and donors who committed to providing food for its quick supply and expedite procurement of rice from Myanmar and Vietnam in addition to India and Thailand.

"He also asked for carrying on dialogue with traders," according to CA's Press Secretary Syed Fahim Munaim who was present at the meeting.

The Chief Adviser directed the authorities to make seed, fertilizer and power available to farmers "to maximize production" of next boro paddy crops.

Paramilitary BDR will conduct the OMS operation. Test Relief and Food for Work progarmme will also continue, the meeting was apprised.

Meanwhile, Food Advisor Tapan Chowdhury on Thursday said the country has enough food stock and the government would release the food-grains for cooling the overheated market "soon".

"So, there will be no scarcity of food in the country," he said to waiting journalists outside his office room at the Energy Ministry-at a time when there has been brouhaha over food-price rises.

Tapan Chowdhury, who had earlier been reported to have said that the government has 'nothing to do' with the food crisis, particularly in the case of rise of rice prices, today denied having made such a remark.

His remark triggered a flurry of criticisms among the public as well as in trade circles. Even, his Cabinet colleague and compatriot Finance Advisor Mirza Azizul Islam openly disagreed with his observations.

Today Tapan Chowdhury was unwilling to meet the journalists and repeatedly rejected the reporters' request for his audience.

But the journalists, who thronged his office premises, wouldn't budge. Finally, when he came out at 2:45 pm to leave for attending a function at Dhaka Stock Exchange, the Advisor said a few words walking to get into his car. He said that the today's Cabinet meeting would take decision as to when the Open Market Sale (OMS) and other programmes like Food for Work would start across the country to ease the food crisis.

He also denied any lack of coordination among government machinery that failed to control a quirky rice-price hike.

For last few days, country's rice market remained volatile as neighbouring India decided to increase the exportable rice price. The advisor's controversial comment is reported to have added to this volatility on the rice market, pushing the prices one step up.

According to market sources, in the last two days, the price of per-kg rice has shot up by Tk 5-7. Different varieties of rice now sell between Tk 35 and 42 per kilogram.

The paramilitary Bangladesh Rifles (BDR), which is operating some essential commodity-selling outlets across the country, has also raised the price of rice by Tk 5 per kg to Tk 25.

Source: The New Nation

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