Under the programme, one was supposed to get 30 kilograms of rice a month at Tk300, but Dealer Badar Molla of Khagail village was selling two kg less at Tk300 in Khagail Bazar in the morning.
Executive Officer of Sadar upazila Md Jalal Uddin rushed to the market on information that agitation had spread over the issue in the locality.
The dealer brought eight tons and 700kg rice from the food storehouse in Gopalganj and started selling the rice two kg less in weight at TK300 in presence of Deputy-assistant Agriculture Officer of the union Dinesh Joydhar, said Aminur Rahman Molla, member of ward no 1 of the union.
Besides, people of well-off section got fair price cards instead of poor people to avail the privilege, alleged Aminur.
Food Ministry for the first time has started distributing rice to ultra poor rural families at Tk10 per kg under its fair price card programme.
Dulal Molla of the village said: “The dealer took TK300 from me for 28kg rice. He did the same with many other people.”
Azim Sheikh, member of ward no 7, alleged that former female union parishad member Aklima Begum, her husband Abdul Gani and mother Anwara Begum got the cards.
Kader Sheikh and his wife Mini Begum, Yusuf Molla, Araj Ali Khan and his wife Rajia Begum also got the cards though they are solvent, claimed Azim.
Masudul Hasan, member of ward no 2, said: “As people of well-off families have got the cards, many needy people like disabled Cherag Ali and ultra poor housewife Begum of my ward have been deprived of their rights.”
Dinesh said: “Badar told me that as he got rice less in weight from the food storehouse, consumers will also get rice less in weight. Around five to six consumers got rice one kg less, but, later, they were given that one kg each due to the protests of locals.”
Jalal said primary evidence of misappropriation had been found. Measures would be taken against the dealer if the allegation was proven in investigation, he added.
Besides, irregularities in cards distribution would also be investigated, said the executive officer.
Badar said the rice supplied from the storehouse was less in weight and that was why he gave less amounts of rice towards the beginning of the sale.
About cards distribution, he admitted that he did wrong.
The cards would be given to the real needy people after cancelling the cards of solvent people, Badar added.
In-charge of Gopalganj food storehouse Joy Krishna said: “The dealer could have informed the UNO, the district food official, union parishad chairman or me, if he got less rice from the storehouse. But, he did not inform anyone.”
There are 42 government-appointed dealers for 21 unions in the upazila to run the programme.