POST TIME: 5 April, 2020 00:00 00 AM
Govt to launch Tk 10 per kg rice scheme for urban poor today

Govt to launch Tk 10 per kg rice scheme for urban poor today

The government will launch a special open market sales (OMS) programme today to provide rice at Tk 10 per kg to people in urban areas rendered jobless after the suspension of transport activities to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in the country.

Transport workers, rickshaw pullers, van drivers, street vendors, beggars, homeless people, tea vendors and other poor people can avail the OMS benefit by showing their legal national identity cards (NID).

Also today, a food-friendly programme will be launched in rural areas.

Speaking to The Independent, food minister Sadhan Chandra Majumder said, “We have already written to all deputy commissioners (DC) and district food controllers (DC-Food) to inform them about the matter.”

Majumder said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had introduced a food-friendly programme in 2016 to provide rice at Tk 10 per kg to feed 50 lakh families in rural areas. “Each family has been receiving 30 kg of rice per month,” he added.

The minister said the food secretary had written to all DC and DC-food at least three months ago to update the lists of cards. If the lists are not updated, the food friendly local committee led by the respective upazila nirbahi officer will follow the government’s policy.  He further said that dealers or public representatives having illegal cards for the food distribution program must submit them to the appropriate authority by today. Otherwise they will have to face stern legal action, he warned.

Yesterday, the food ministry issued a circular on the introduction of the special OMS program as per the Prime Minister’s instruction. The authority concerned will allocate two tonnes of rice for each centre in the district and divisional areas and three tonnes in Dhaka metropolitan areas daily. According to the ministry’s circular, the special OMS program will be held on three days a week—Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday—the sale of rice will continue from 10 am to 3 pm.

Each consumer can buy 5 kg of rice under the program after showing their legal NID, the statement said, adding that the local administration, law enforcing agencies, ward councilors or representatives of city corporations or municipalities will conduct the special OMS activities in their respective areas. The authority concerned will maintain all the information of the consumers including cell phone numbers in a master roll to implement the special OMS program. The families who are enjoying other government initiatives like the food-friendly program or VGD won’t be entitled to buy rice from the special OMS. Besides, several members of a family can’t be selected for special OMS. The dealers will send the daily sale reports to the OMS president concerned after they are signed by the monitoring officials.

Notably, a total of 39,180 families comprising around two lakh people reside in 73 slums in Dhaka metropolitan areas.

According to food ministry sources, the Dhaka administration has informed that these people have not yet received any government assistance under the food programme.

There 120 dealers in DMP areas, of whom 24 will sell special OMS rice in the 73 slums every week.

The special OMS activities will begin from today at Shialbari, Rupnagar Jhilpar Basti in Mirpur and Sattala Basti in Mohakhali in the city.