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19 September, 2017 12:19:01 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 19 September, 2017 09:25:46 AM
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Multipronged approach to tame rice prices

Agreement signed with Myanmar to buy 1 lakh tonne rice
STAFF REPORTER
Multipronged approach to tame rice prices

The government has now taken up a multi-pronged approach to control the prices of rice, after various earlier measures apparently failed to bring the prices down. As part of the move, the government has now engaged intelligence agency members to monitor and act as a catalyst to help reduce the rice prices. Also, the food minister, agriculture minister and commerce minister will hold a joint meeting with rice mill owners, importers, wholesalers and retailers today.

Law enforcers are also conducting raids on rice mills and it will continue till the market becomes stable, said official sources. However, district administrations are yet to arrest any rice hoarder, though instructions were given by Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed on Sunday to arrest rice mill association leaders Abdur Rashid and Layek Ali after conducting raids at their godowns.

Regarding the government directives, Dr Aminur Rahman, deputy commissioner of Naogaon, told this correspondent, “He (the commerce minister) only directed that raids be carried out. We have held meetings with

rice mill owners and given them time to supply rice from their stock by Monday.”

The DC said that members of an intelligence agency also held a meeting with rice mill owners of the district.

Rice prices have come down by Tk. 2–3 per kg in Naogaon after the raids,” he said in reply to a query. He hoped that the prices would return to the previous level within 24 hours in Naogaon.

Against the backdrop of spiraling rice prices, Bangladesh yesterday signed an agreement with Myanmar to procure one lakh tonnes of rice to bring down the prices.

 “We will buy 100,000 tonnes of white rice at USD 442 per tonne,” Food Minister Qamrul Islam told reporters after the deal was signed at the Secretariat.

 He also claimed that prices have started falling after raids were conducted at rice mills.

 However, district administrations are yet to arrest any rice hoarder, though instructions were given by commerce minister Tofail Ahmed on Sunday to arrest rice mill association leaders Abdur Rashid and Layek Ali after conducting raids at their godowns.

 When asked about the commerce minister’s instruction to arrest rice mill owners, the inspector general of police (IGP), Mohammad Shahidul Haque, however, told reporters that there are only instructions for taking legal action against rice hoarders.

 “The directives were not for arresting Abdur Rashid, president of the Rice Mill Owners’ Association, but monitoring the situation. We are conducting drives at different rice mills. They are under surveillance. If any mill owner tries to hoard rice, action will be taken as per the law,” Habibur Rahman, acting deputy commissioner of Kushtia district, told The Independent yesterday.

 With the help of the police, the administration conducted raids on rice mills against hoarding, he added. IGP Shahidul Haque said there are laws against hoarders.

 “If anyone tries to hoard or create an artificial crisis of rice, legal action will be taken against them. Instructions have already been given to field-level officials,” the IGP told reporters at the police headquarters yesterday.

In Dhaka, coarse rice is still selling between Tk. 45 and Tk. 50 per kg. The price of Minicate has increased by Tk. 2 in the capital, according to traders at the Mohammad Krishi Market.

 “We have finalised importing one lakh tonnes of white rice from Myanmar at USD 442 per tonne. Besides, prices have started falling after raids were conducted at different places including Bogra and Kushtia,” Qamrul Islam said.

 The OMS activities will be widened across the country, he added.

 Asked when would the rice from Myanmar reach Bangladesh, the food minister said: “We have just signed the deal. This will be sent to the Prime Minister’s Office and then to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and later to the Purchase Committee for Approval. We will open an L/C after the process is complete.”

 He further said a joint meeting will be held today (Tuesday) with rice mill owners, importers, wholesalers and retailers. Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed and Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury will be present at the meeting, he added.

MK/KK

 

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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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