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9 July, 2015 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 9 July, 2015 10:53:49 AM
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Brazilian wheat

HC bars forceful distribution

Wheat fit for human consumption
HC bars forceful distribution

The government has to take back Brazilian wheat that was distributed across the country but returned for being sub-standard, the High Court ruled yesterday.
The HC also said that the government could not force any department or organisation to procure the remaining imported wheat if they were unwilling to do so. It further said that if anyone, any department or organisation wanted to return the wheat, which has been distributed in the meantime, the authorities concerned were bound to accept those without any question.
The HC bench comprising Justices Quazi Reza-Ul-Haque and Abu Taher Md Saifur Rahman issued the directives after disposing of a writ petition challenging the legality of the Brazilian wheat by branding it sub-standard. It, however, maintained that test reports have revealed the wheat was fit for human consumption. A bulk of the wheat has been consumed already and there was no report of illness or causalities that would make the wheat unfit for human consumption.
But doubts on the quality persisted as insects were found in the wheat, the court added.
The HC bench also said that most of the reports mentioned that after the tests, insects were found in some consignments of the imported wheat and it could be distributed after treatment. But some of the reports prepared by the Directorate General of Food said that the wheat was fit for human consumption.
On July 5, the DG of food department had certified that the 2.5 lakh tonnes of wheat imported from Brazil were “consumable as the samples were found to be within the admissible limits set in the contract specification”.
During the hearing on the petition, barrister Mahbub Uddin Khokon, counsel for the petitioner, told the court that laboratories in 22 districts had found the presence of insects in the imported wheat imported. But on the contrary, the DG of food department claimed that it was fit for consumption, he added.
Khokon alleged that the authorities concerned had committed huge corruption in importing sub-standard wheat. The court should direct the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to investigate the scam, he added.
Khokon later told reporters that the government could not force any person or organisation to receive the wheat if they were unwilling to take the wheat following the HC order. “If anyone wishes to return the wheat, which has been distributed in the meantime, the government is bound to take it back,” he added.

On the other hand, deputy attorney general Taposh Kumar Biswash, who represented the state, told reporters that the court disposed of the petition, saying the wheat was fit for consumption.
He said local laboratories reported that they have found insects in the wheat. If anyone was unwilling to take the wheat, the government would take it back from them, he added.
In its report on June 28, the BCSIR had commented that “all the supplied samples contained higher amount of shrunken and broken kernels than the supplied specifications”. It also said that the damaged grain percentage was also higher in all samples, except the wheat collected from Kurigram, Narail, Gaibandha and Sirajganj.
On June 29, the HC had taken up a writ petition challenging the legality of the import and distribution of “substandard” wheat from Brazil. The court had asked the food directorate to submit a report within 72 hours on whether the wheat was fit for human consumption.
Last week, the food ministry had conducted tests in its labs after collecting samples of the wheat from warehouses in 14 districts following media reports that the two lakh tonnes of imported wheat was “substandard”.
The import cost was around USD 46 million or Tk 355 crore. A food ministry official said 90 per cent of payment has been made.
The Brazilian wheat has already been supplied to police, BGB, Ansar units and to various dealers and mills. It has also been provided for test relief and food-for-work programmes.
The ministry also said that out of the 205,128 tonnes of Brazilian wheat, 174,926 tonnes have been distributed in the last four months.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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