Food Minister Sadhan Chandra Majumder has instructed authorities concerned to ensure that corporate organisations cannot deal in paddy and rice if they do not have their own mills.
"Big corporate houses are procuring paddy. Monitoring must be ramped up so that companies that do not have their own mills cannot take part in this business," the food minister said on Thursday during a virtual view-exchange meeting on internal procurement and market monitoring in Boro season 2022.
Sadhan Chandra Majumder said, "A section is spreading misleading information about food shortage, but there is no chance of food shortage in Bangladesh. Drives are being conducted against hoarding and it will be intensified further."
Addressing the food department officials, Sadhan Chandra said that emphasis should be given on issuing and renewing food grain licenses.
"We need to ensure that no one can do business without a license or cannot hoard. Necessary action must be taken against hoarders in accordance with the Special Powers Act, 1974", said the food minister.
He said the government procures rice for two reasons - to ensure that farmers get a fair price for their crops and to ensure national food security.
"Food department officials need to work to make Boro paddy collection a success. No negligence will be tolerated," the food minister warned.
While instructing not to misbehave with anyone when collecting paddy, the minister said that the quality of rice cannot be compromised.
The minister said prices of rice and wheat have started falling in neighbouring countries, who are now sending letters for exporting those grains.
The market must be kept steady. If necessary, rice will be imported by reducing the import tax, Sadhan Chandra Majumder added.
The food minister said on Wednesday that irregularities have been found in storing and packaging of rice by Square Group and Akij Group, and a case has been filed against the former as well.
Speaking to journalists at the secretariat, the minister alleged that some corporate houses are involved in controlling the rice market amid soaring prices of the commodity.