Dhaka, April 30, 2017 (BN) – Prime Sheikh Hasina today 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,” she said asking the officials to remain vigilant about this.
The Prime Minister said this while speaking a gathering of local people at Shalla Upazila headquarters here today during her visit in the flood-hit district today.
Sheikh Hasina arrived here this morning to see for herself the woes of the flood affected people of the haor area. The Prime Minister said the government is examining any negligence in constructing the embankments of the haors saying action would be taken if anybody found responsible for this.
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. She also announced distribution of fertilizer, seeds, other agricultural components among farmers free of cost and monthly allowance of Taka 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,” Sheikh Hasina said.
Sheikh Hasina said as many as 8,50,088 families of 518 unions of 62 upazilas were affected by the flash flood. Boro crops of 2,49,840 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.
The Prime Minister said a total of 587 relief centres were opened for distribution of relief goods. So far 4,224 metric tons of gratuitous rice and Taka 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.
Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury, Food Minister Advocate Qamrul Islam, Water Resources Minister Anisul Islam Mahmud, State Minister for Finance M A Mannan, State Minister for Water Resources Nazrul Islam accompanied the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister distributed rice and cash amount among one thousand families. Each family received 38 kilogram rice and cash amount of Taka 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.
The Prime Minister 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.
Pointing out the potentials of the haor areas the Prime Minister said the government has undertaken plans to improve the living condition of the haor people.
Steps are being taken for construction of the sustainable homes in haor areas and supply electricity through solar system, she said.
Necessary plan was also taken for residential schools in haor and hill areas so that children can go to school every day without any huddle.
Flood-affected school children would be provided with necessary help, she said adding that the government would release fish fries in haor areas to improve commercial fishing in coming days.
Sheikh Hasina urged the people to keep their trust in Awami League saying the party founded by the Father of the Nation always devoted for the cause of the people. So her party would not tolerate any injustice, corruption and misuse as long as it’s in power, she said.
Sheikh Hasina said her government has a plan to diversify the livelihood of the haor people instead of making them dependent on cultivation of paddy only. The government would ensure shelter and food for every family,she said.