Themorningbellbd.com desk, April 30: Prime Sheikh Hasina on Sunday warned against hoarding and increase of the price of food grains in plea of flood in the northeastern haor areas saying tough action would be taken against such malpractice.
“There is no shortage of food in the country, and hoar areas supply a very small portion of the national food demand. So, there is no reason of increasing the price of food grains in plea of shortage,” he said.
The premier said this while speaking a gathering of local people at Shalla Upazila headquarters here today during her visit in the flood-hit district.
Sheikh Hasina also asked the officials concerned to remain vigilant about of increasing the price of food grains in plea of shortage.
Sheikh Hasina arrived here this morning to see for herself the woes of the flood affected people of the haor area.
She said payment of all bank loans of the haor people would remain postponed until harvesting of the new crop and interest of the bank loan would be halved.
Sheikh Hasina also announced distribution of fertilizer, seeds, other agricultural components among farmers free of cost and monthly allowance of Tk 500 for every effected family.
The premier urged the NGOs not to give pressure on farmers to pay instalments of their loans saying the government through NGO bureau would advice the NGOs not to give pressure on farmers during their difficulties.
If necessary subsidy on electricity for agriculture would continue, she said.
The helicopter carrying the Prime Minister landed at Shahid Ali High School Ground at Shalla Upazila. The premier witnessed the flood-hit areas from helicopter before her landing. She also visited some affected areas by speed boat.
The Prime Minister held a meeting with senior officials and then distributed relief goods among the flood-hit people and gave necessary directives to ensure getting relief materials by every affected person.
Flash flood triggered by early monsoon caused inundation of vast swathes of the country’s northeastern region damaging Boro paddy just a few days ahead of harvesting and putting the livelihoods of thousands of farmers at risk. Sunamganj, Sylhet, Habiganj, Moulvibazar, Netrakona and Brahmanbaria districts were affected mostly by the flood.
Urging the people not to be afraid of natural disaster the Prime Minister said her government has made a standing order about the duties what are ought to be done by the officials, local administration and ministries, and they are doing their job accordingly.
“So, there is nothing to be anxious about the supply of food and help the affected people,”the Prime Minister said adding that the government has already sent relief materials to every flood affected area without any failure.
“I want to make sure that we’re always beside you. Not as the Prime Minister, but also as the daughter of the Father of the Nation and when was in opposition we tried to stand beside you during any disaster,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said as many as 850,088 families of 518 unions of 62 upazilas were affected by the flash flood. Boro crops of 249,840 hectors of land were completely damaged and 18,205 houses were partially or fully damaged, she said the government would take measures for reconstruction of the damaged houses.
She said a total of 587 relief centres were opened for distribution of relief goods. So far 4,224 metric tons of gratuitous rice and Tk 2,25,97000 were allocated as humanitarian assistance for the affected people.
The number of VGF cards would be increased so that no family is left out of the food programme to be continued until harvesting of new crop.
The Prime Minister distributed rice and cash amount among one thousand families. Each family received 38 kilogram rice and cash amount of Tk 1000 from the Prime Minister.
Sheikh Hasina said the Ministry of Relief and Disaster Management has already deputed officers for food distribution and its monitoring who are sincerely rendering their services.
In this regard the Prime Minister also asked her party leaders and workers to monitor the situation and extend all possible cooperation.
Sheikh Hasina said her government would not take any food aid from any foreign country as a begging nation doesn’t have any dignity. “If necessary we would important food,” she said adding Bangladesh was born to live as a dignified nation.
Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury, Food Minister Advocate Qamrul Islam, Water Resources Minister Anisul Islam Mahmud, State Minister for Finance MA Mannan and State Minister for Water Resources Nazrul Islam accompanied Sheikh Hasina.