Moeen seeks to dispel fear of silent famine | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 17, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, March 17, 2008

Moeen seeks to dispel fear of silent famine

Chief of Army Staff General Moeen U Ahmed yesterday dismissed the fear of 'silent famine' in the country, saying the government has overcome the fallout of consecutive floods and a devastating cyclone.
"There's no famine. It's true that there has been shortfall of food grains as the country suffered consecutive natural calamities -- flooding and devastating cyclone. But we've been able to overcome the problems," he said.
The army chief's assertion came on the heels of Regulatory Reforms Commission Chairman Dr Akbar Ali Khan's observation that the country is passing through a 'silent famine'.
Gen Moeen was speaking at the launching of a sewing-training centre for women at Begum Rokeya Complex at Pairaband in Rangpur's Mithapukur upazila. Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association set up the training centre in cooperation with the army.
General Officer Commanding (GOC) of Rangpur Cantonment Maj Gen Syed Fatemi Ahmed Rumi presided over the function.
The army chief said the country needs to increase food production to meet the shortfall.
"We'll have an additional five lakh metric tons of food grains this year. The agriculture department, administration, armed forces and farmers have made concerted efforts to raise the food production," he said.
"We've harvested a bumper potato crop this season. Potato is a staple food and can substitute for rice," General Moeen said and advised more use of potato as food item.
He urged the farmers not to let an inch of their arable land lie fallow. He said the administration will extend all cooperation to the farmers, they will be provided with all inputs.
He said fertiliser and irrigation facilities will now be easily available to the farmers, but they will have to raise food production.
Pointing to the fisheries in Teesta irrigation canal, the army chief said the armed forces helped in implementing the project where 600 families are now earning livelihood.
Everyone should work. There can be no poverty in the country if 30 crore hands of 15 crore people are put to work. There will be no 'monga', no food problem if everybody works, he said.
Gen Moeen urged the people to vote for honest and efficient candidates in the election, to be held by the end of this year.
"Vote for honest, educated and efficient candidates. Don't take money in exchange for vote or sell your vote. If you sell your vote to a dishonest candidate, they'll sell you after the election," he said.
The army chief said five crore people have already been registered as voters, adding that the voter list with national ID card will be completed in July.
He later visited Shalban Govt Primary School in the town where he started his schooling.

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