BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Tuesday alleged that the rice price is going up even during the full Boro harvesting season due to the government’s wrong policy and a foul play of the ruling party.
Speaking at a press conference, he also said the current government has not taken any initiative to develop the country’s agriculture sector and improve the lot of farmers.
Jatiyatabadi Krishak Dal arranged the press conference at BNP’s Nayapaltan central office following a visit of its leaders to the flood-affected areas.
“The rice price is not supposed to rise during this full harvesting season. It’s the time when the price should come down as the Boro harvesting has begun. But the price of every variety of rice has gone up. That means there are some problems in total planning,” Fakhrul said.
He also said the government has given the charge of different ministries to such people who are directly involved in that business. “The person who is involved in the food trade has been given the charge of the Food Ministry. As a result, business is becoming more important than serving people.”
The BNP leader said the big farmers and rice traders are stockpiling paddy to sell it after some days at higher prices. “Because the price of paddy will increase and their profit will also rise in the days to come. This is their (ruling party’s trick."
Fakhrul, who served as BNP government’s state minister for agriculture, said the AL government does not have a well-thought-out plan for the development of agriculture and farmers.
“Marginal farmers now pull rickshaws and vans while many middle farmers are giving up farming as agriculture is now an unprofitable job, decreasing the cultivation of food grains,” he observed.
The BNP leader said the present government undertakes only those works where they have their own profit and commission of crores of taka. “That is why they do not build permanent dams in the haor areas.”
Referring to the recent flood in the haor regions, he said flooding is a very old problem there due to the onrush of water from upstream. “If protection can be given ……by constructing dams or building reservoirs this problem will be resolved. It will also help farmers grow two-three crops in a year. It’s unfortunate that no such programme or plan has been taken up so far."
The BNP leader also alleged that the ruling party men indulged in massive corruption in the name of dam construction in the haor region.
“Some dams have been constructed in the haor area but those are so fragile and weak that they can't hold the pressure of water for twenty-four hours,” he observed.
Citing the reports of various research institutes and the observations of local public representatives, Fakhrul said crops worth about Tk1,000 crore have been destroyed this year as huge areas in Sunamganj went under water due to the embankment collapse.
On behalf of the Krishak Dal, he placed an eight-point demand, including constructing permanent dams with cement blocks in haor, providing affected farmers with the interest-free loans, wavering interest on loans, and suspending loan installments until normalcy returns, introducing crop insurance in haor area and bringing those involved in dam construction corruption to justice.