JS body to probe
The parliamentary standing committee on industries ministry has moved to investigate an allegation over import of around 43,000-tonne low-quality fertiliser worth over Tk 200 crore.
“We don't want to see another Hall-Mark scam,” said ruling Awami League MP Tofail Ahmed, chief of the parliamentary body, during question hour in parliament yesterday.
“Therefore, we want to examine the allegation of irregularities in [fertiliser import] at a meeting on September 16.”
Tofail also asked the industries minister not to offload the fertiliser from Chittagong Sea Port until the committee holds its meeting.
The fertiliser was brought from Vietnam, although as per conditions stipulated in the tender it was supposed to be imported from China, he said.
In the face of criticism, Industries Minister Dilip Barua told the House that his ministry would not give permission for offloading and use the fertiliser if it proved to be substandard or contaminated.
During the questioning session, AL lawmaker Abdul Mannan enquired the of the industries minister about a newspaper report on the scam centring on the fertiliser import.
Mannan said an Indian company had obtained the work order for supplying over 43,000 tonnes of fertiliser to Bangladesh.
“But the company supplied the fertiliser which the Vietnam government had rejected, citing its poor quality. With the association of some rogue officials of the industries ministry, the Indian company supplied the contaminated fertiliser to Bangladesh,” he alleged.
The alleged corruption came to the fore after a newspaper published a report on it this week, Mannan said, demanding the government refuse to receive the fertiliser.
“The imported fertiliser was stored in the Chittagong Sea Port area for over seven months and maximum portion of it has turned into solid-like object,” he said.
In response, Industries Minister Dilip Barua said following the newspaper report, his ministry had formed a five-member expert team to examine the quality of the fertiliser. “The team in its report recommended that the fertiliser can be used.”
Tofail, a veteran politician, asked the minister to ensure the presence of the five at the September 16 meeting.
The expert body is comprised of a Buet teacher, a joint secretary and three officials of Bangladesh Standard and Testing Institute (BSTI).