Locals -- including people from low-income groups -- snatched VGF relief rice from a truck in Zakiganj upazila of Sylhet today morning, citing irregularities in distribution.
The rice was supposed to be sold at Tk 10 per kilogram to 684 poor families in Manikpur, Kaskanakpur and Barthakuri unions in the upazila, said Mahtab Hossain Chowdhury, chairman of Manikpur union.
"The truck carrying 570 sacks of rice reached Kaliganj Bazar last night to unload a portion of the rice at the warehouse of a registered dealer there, for 228 families in Manikpur union," he said.
The remaining portion of the rice was supposed to be sent to the other two unions, but a dealer from nearby Kaskanakpur union allegedly started unloading the rice at his rice store in Kaliganj Bazar this morning, the chairman told our Sylhet correspondent.
Hearing the news, locals protested the matter and at one stage, they started snatching the rice from the truck, he added.
Zakiganj Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) Bijon Kumar Singha said he did not know that the truck carrying the rice would reach Zakiganj last night.
"After being informed, I rushed to the spot and found 14 sacks of rice in the warehouse of Manikpur union and 26 sacks at the store of the dealer of Kaskanakpur union," the UNO said.
"The dealer claimed that locals dropped the rice sacks in his store to frame him. Meanwhile, a major portion of the rice was snatched from the truck by the locals and police recovered some of the sacks," he added.
Lutfur Rahman, additional superintendent of police in Sylhet, said, "We are investigating the allegation of embezzlement of the rice and the incident involving the truck."
"We detained two dealers, the truck driver and his helper, as well as two other locals. So far 346 sacks of rice were recovered, and police are looking for more," he said.
A case will be filed in this regard soon, he added.