Govt okays import of four lakh tonnes of rice from India
Monday, 31 March 2008


The government has agreed to import four lakh tonnes of rice from India at $430 per tonne within 60 days, finance adviser AB Mirza Azizul Islam said Sunday.

The cabinet committee on public purchase gave the approval at a meeting Sunday after a proposal from a visiting Indian delegation tasked to resolve the issue.

Azizul, who chairs the committee, told reporters that the decision had removed any remaining hurdle for India to export the outstanding four lakh tonnes of rice of an earlier pledge to export five lakh tonnes to Bangladesh.

The food ministry's new acting secretary Mollah Wahiduzzaman said a letter had been sent to the Bangladesh High Commission in New Delhi requesting them to ink the deal with India at the approved price.

The high commission will sign the agreement on behalf of Bangladesh, said the acting secretary. "India pledged to export five lakh tonnes of rice to Bangladesh. So far one lakh tonnes of the amount has started arriving from West Bengal," Azizul said. "There have been some problems regarding the other four lakh tonnes.

However, the government has now approved importing the rice at $430 per tonne within 60 days," he said. The adviser said the purchase was necessary as it was not entirely certain how much boro production there would be in the upcoming season. "The country has a food stocks for three months.

The government already decided to sell more rice through OMS. Therefore we decided to purchase the additional stock," Azizul said. Wahiduzzaman said two rounds of meetings were held with the Indian delegation in Dhaka in March to fix the details and timetable of the deal.

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