A number of destitute people have been deprived of the government's safety programme benefit as irregularities have been found in the government's Vulnerable Group Development (VGD) programme and cash assistance lists for the poor families in Kabai union of Barishal's Bakerganj upazila, with fake address and mobile numbers used by people of other areas.
One of the listed beneficiaries, Amina Begum, wife of Kamaluddin Shikdar of the union, came up with the allegation at a press conference in Barishal Reporters' Unity recently.
Amina said the government allocated VGD rice for 249 destitute women in the union for 2019 and 2020, but at least 15 beneficiaries in the union are yet to get the rice due to irregularities found in preparation of beneficiaries' list of the programme. Under the VGD programme, a beneficiary gets 30 kg of rice per month free of cost.
She along with 14 beneficiaries in Kabai union has been deprived of the government's safety programme benefit for 18 months, said Amina.
Meanwhile, the government announced that 50 lakh poor families hit by the coronavirus pandemic would get Tk 2,500 cash assistance each through four major mobile financial service (MFS) providers from May 14 to 18.
The prime minister on May 14 launched the disbursement of over Tk 1,200 crore cash aid for 50 lakh poor families hit by the Covid-19 pandemic in the country. Under the cash assistance programme, each family will get Tk 2,500 cash aid through MFS providers so that they get the money directly.
There are 952 listed low-income families in the union.
But around 100 listed beneficiaries out of the 952 families are yet to receive the cash aid as fake address and mobile numbers were used during preparation of the beneficiaries' list, said Amina.
Kabir Hawlader is one of the listed beneficiaries under the cash assistance programme and when this correspondent phoned the mobile number of Kabir, one Md Zamal, a resident of Chawkbazar in Cumilla, received the phone call and said "It is his personal phone number and no person lives here in the name of Kabir".
Zahirul Huq Talukdar, chairman of Kabai Union Parishad (UP), said the distribution works are going on. There may have been a mistake in providing information during preparation of lists of VGD and cash assistance programme for poor people.
Contacted, Madhavi Rani Roy, upazila nirbahi officer (UNO) of Bakerganj, said they have recently received an allegation from the Barishal district administration in this regard. They have already started investigation into the matter.
Bakerganj upazila parishad female affairs officer has been asked to investigate the allegation of irregularities, said the UNO.