>irregularities: diesel subsidy going to wrong pockets

>KHARNA Union Parishad, Bogra. Farmer Bablu Mia of Dhawapara village comes to the union parishad (UP) to get his share of subsidy for diesel. He is told that it was already withdrawn. His brother Saiful Islam also had the same experience. (Read full article)
Landless Safura Khatun of the same village came to buy medicine but was caught up by Maznu Mia, a local with some influence. He took her to the distribution point by force and withdrew an amount against her name. Maznu gave Safura Tk 40. The woman, however, did not have any idea how much the man withdrew.
Locals of Kharna alleged that Maznu in connivance with UP Member Zafar thus gobbled up diesel subsidy meant for several poor farmers in the area on April 30.
And not just influential locals like Maznu, a few UP members and even agriculture officials have misappropriated a portion of the subsidy by resorting to massive irregularities and corruption during distribution.
Government officials said although the project to provide cash subsidy directly to the farmers was successful to a great extent in comparison to other programmes, more poor farmers could benefit from it if irregularities in the distribution process could be checked.
Seven UP members and agriculture officers have already been arrested in Dinajpur for their alleged involvement in the irregularities on April 30.
On May 20, poor farmers of Madaripur submitted a memorandum to the agriculture adviser, asking him to stop the “corruption and cheating” in distribution of the diesel subsidy.
Allegations of such irregularities have mostly come from the northern districts, the largest irrigation-based region.
When contacted last week Agriculture Adviser CS Karim said the government would take legal action against those involved in the irregularities.
“We have brought 67 lakh farmers under the subsidy programme. Some incidents of irregularity may have occurred but the situation is not yet alarming. However, we will definitely take legal action against the persons involved,” he told The Daily Star.
The government decided on the Tk 250 crore direct subsidies to marginal farmers to help them recover the part of the cost of diesel used for irrigation. Farmers who have less than 2.5 acres of land are eligible to receive a subsidy of Tk 545 for one acre of cultivated land.


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