Rich feasts on rice for poor
12:00 AM, May 09, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:25 AM, May 09, 2017

Rich feasts on rice for poor

Many flood-hit farmers fail to get VGF cards for graft

Affected farmers are not getting the rice of the government's VGF (Vulnerable Group Feeding) programme and the VGF cards are being sold in Rajanagor and Rofinagor unions of Sunamganj's Derai upazila, farmers have alleged. 

They said relatives of the chairmen of the two unions were given VGF cards and they were selling off the rice in markets.

Complaints have been filed to the upazila nirbahi officer against the chairmen for their alleged involvement in irregularities.  

Sumon Das, a farmer in Ronarchar village under Rajanagor union, said, “Crops on my five acres of land were destroyed by floods. I did not get a VGF card because VGF cards were being sold now. I have no money to buy it."

Soilen Das, of the same village, alleged that some UP members were taking Tk 500-2,000 to be included in the VGF list.

Rekha Begum, widow of a farmer in Ronarchar village, said her five-member family was passing their days in hardship.

She went to the UP member for their ward for a VGF card several times, but she was asked to pay, Rekha alleged. 

In this connection, Sumon, Soilen and Rekha lodged a complaint against Rajanagar UP Chairman Soumyo Chowdhury.

Talking to this newspaper, Soumyo claimed that there were no irregularities in the distribution of VGF cards in his union. The UP members did not take any money from anyone for VGF cards.

Joba Rani Talukder, a UP member of Rofinagor union, said affected farmers were not getting rice after standing in line for Open Market Sale (OMS) for hours. But the rice was being sold at many shops at a high price.

She also alleged that the VGF cards were being sold. 

The UP member of Rofinagor union said she brought an allegation of corruption against Rofinagor union Chairman Rezwan Hossain Khan. 

Another complainant Ratan Mia, of Rofinagor, said, “UP Chairman Rezwan Hossain Khan collected Tk 50-200 for including a name in the VGF list. For this reason, I complained to the upazila nirbahi officer against the chairman. I requested the UNO to investigate the matter."

Contacted, Rezwan refuted the allegation and said some UP members were trying to destroy his reputation.  

Touhiduzzaman Pavel, UNO of Derai upazila, said there were several allegations of irregularities in the distribution of VGF cards.

He said a three-member committee was formed to investigate the incident. After receiving the probe report, necessary action would be taken against those involved in irregularities.

Talking to this correspondent, Sheikh Rafiqul Islam, deputy commissioner of Sunamganj, said he would not tolerate any irregularities in the distribution of VGF cards and OMS rice. 

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