Shortage of resources allocated and irregularities of local representatives makes it hard to help people living in dire conditions
Desperate for help as coronavirus restrictions keep them from making a living, locals in Jamalpur ransacked an aid truck.
The incident was reported on Sunday in the district town’s Mukundobaria area, when a group of people looted 600 packs of rice and as many packs of potatoes from a truck on its way to Bania Bazar to distribute aid.
Mukundobari residents said they snatched the aid because their repeated calls for help went unheard.
Jamalpur Mayor Shakhawatul Alam Moni said the local administration was not providing enough aid.
Widespread misappropriation of aid goods for the poor have been reported from across Bangladesh since the government ordered a countrywide lockdown to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The Jamalpur incident took place on the very day Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina vowed to clamp down on those who misappropriate relief goods meant for the poor and needy.
" Misappropriating food, rice or other goods allocated as relief for people at this time of crisis isn't worthy of forgiveness and we certainly won't forgive anyone who does it," she said on Sunday during a videoconference with district administration officials.
Relief misappropriation continues across the country
The novel coronavirus relief programme has been riddled with theft and irregularities, depriving intended beneficiaries now struggling in this lockdown.
In Bogra, the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) arrested two local Awami League leaders with 168 sacks of rice, weighing around 5,040 kgs from Shimla Bazar in Nandigram upazila, on Sunday.
The detained were identified as Anisur Rahman Anis, general secretary of Nandigram upazila unit Awami League and his cohort Ansar Ali, president of ward 8 of Nandigram Sadar Union Awami League, said Additional Superintendent of Police (ASP) Rowsan Ali, Acting Company Commander of RAB-12.
In Bhola, police seized six sacks of rice, hidden under the floor of a Union Parishad Member's house in Lalmohan upazila on Sunday.
Police, however, could not detain accused UP member Jewel, but arrested his father Nannu for interrogation, said Lalmohon police station Officer-in-Charge, Mir Khairul Kabir.
In Chapainawabganj, the Detective Branch of police arrested two people with 226 sacks of rice, weighing around 11,300 kgs from a house in Jora Bakultola of Sadar upazila on Sunday.
The detained were identified as Mesbahul Haque, 38, and Robiul Islam, said Sadar upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) Alamgir Hossain.
In Khagrachhari, local administration seized 28 sacks of rice, weighing around 840kgs, meant for the government’s open market sale (OMS) scheme, and detained a rice dealer from Gomoto Bolichandra Karbari para in Matiranga upazila, on Sunday morning.
The detained Abul Hossain hoarded the rice in order to sell in the market, said Matiranga Upazila Nirbahi Officer Bibhishon Kanti Das.
In Madaripur, police detained a Union Parishad Member with 450 kgs of rice from Nabogram village in Kalkini upazila on Sunday.
The detained was identified as Uttam Biswas, a member of Nabogram Union Parisahad (UP), said Dasar police station Officer-in Charge (OC) Muhammad Abdul Wahab.
In Joypurhat, police seized 25 sacks of rice and detained two people in connection with the theft from Nimtali village of Khetlal upazila, on Sunday.
The accused Tota Miah and his accomplice Abdul Majid from the village were sued for thievery, said Khetlal police station Officer-in-Charge Siddiqur Rahman.
In Feni, a mobile court, led by Fulgazi Upazila Nirbahi Officer Sultana Nasrin detained a man with 6 sacks of rice on Saturday night.
The detained was identified as jakir Hossain Majumdat who lives in Amjathat union of the upazila.
UP chairman in Chittagong’s Hathazari removed
The Local Government Division removed the chairman of Mirzapur Union Parishad (UP) in Hathazari upazila of Chittagong, on Sunday.
The accused, Nurul Absar was removed from his office for irregularities in government relief goods meant for free distribution to the distressed to combat the coronavirus crisis, said a notice issued by the Local Government Division.
According to reports from different parts of the country, there is a shortage of resources allocated for the people and the irregularities of the local representatives have made it hard to help those who are living in dire conditions due to the nationwide shutdown.
Our district correspondents contributed to this report