Rice mill owners in Lalmonirhat yesterday confined the Sadar upazila food controller (UFC) to his office for nearly two hours, bringing allegation of irregularities in allotment of rice procurement by the government.
Lalmonirhat Sadar UFC Ayub Ali, who was confined at Local Supplied Depot (LSD) Office in Kalibari area of the town from 2:30pm to 4:30pm, was later released after he assured the agitated mill owners of discussing the issue at an urgent meeting today [Monday].
Khorshed Alam Dulal, owner of North Bengal Mill in Saptana area in the town, alleged the UFC Ayub issued a major portion of the allotment in favour of 70 out of 143 rice mills after taking bribe of Tk 70 thousand to Tk 1 lakh from each of the 70 rice owners, depriving the other 73 mill owners.
Protesting the illegal act, they have suspended paddy purchasing from the farmers, he said, adding that as a result farmers are also being deprived of fair paddy prices.
Jasim Uddin, owner of Nishat Mill in Mahendranagar area in Sadar upazila, said the government has decided to purchase 3,627 tonnes of rice from enlisted 143 mill owners this season, but only 70 mills, which remain idle in most of the time of the year, were allotted 2,100 tonnes.
However, denying the allegations brought against him, UCF Ayub said the allotment is directly issued from the ministry concerned and they just sent proper info about the mills.
Despite repeated attempts, this correspondent could not reach District Food Controller, in additional duty, Kazi Saifuddin as he didn’t received the phone calls.