BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir today said the farmers are being deprived of fair price of their paddy due to the government’s “wrong policy and corruption.”
Fakhrul, a former junior minister for agriculture, also called upon the government to allocate additional Tk 10,000 crore to purchase paddy for the interest of farmers.
The farmers are being deprived of the due price of paddy due to importing rice, Fakhrul also said while speaking at a press conference at the party’s Nayapaltan central office in Dhaka this noon.
This year, the paddy growers are facing headship to meet their production cost and amid such situation several ruling party leaders, even the parliamentary standing committee on agriculture, have called upon the government to take steps to end the saga.
Fakhrul said though the government is claiming that the country has achieved autarky in producing rice, it has imported a huge amount of rice to ensure “benefits of the ruling party leaders”.
He said 69 lakh metric tonnes of rice were imported by both the government and several private channels in the 2017-2018 fiscal year.
Around 3.3 lakh tonnes of rice were imported over the last 10 months while 97,000 more tonnes in waiting for import, he added.
As a result, farmers are being deprived of fair prices of paddy due to the import of the huge amount of rice.
Besides, farmers are also being denied of fair prices as the government is allowing ruling party leaders and activists to procure paddy only to make their pockets heavier, he alleged.
Fakhrul also blasted Mahbubul Alam Hanif, joint general secretary of the ruling Awami League, for pointed finger at the BNP-Jamaat men for their indulgence in the conspiracy behind the recent farmers’ protest by setting fire on paddy filed over drastic fall of paddy price.
“I told earlier that BNP has become a nightmare for them (Awami League). They can see the ghost of BNP everywhere every time,” he said.
Paddy growers want that the government would purchase the paddy directly from them ensuring a fair price, but the government is not putting its heed to the demand, Fakhrul said.
Fakhrul also placed a 15-point recommendation to get rid of the crisis created over the fall of paddy price.
The recommendations include providing an interest-free loan to farmers, renting private silos for procuring paddy by the government, distributing huge rice among people under the social safety net programmes, buying rice directly from farmers, cancelling the permission that allows ruling party men to procure paddy.