The government has ordered officials to prepare a new list for the Food Friendly Programme within the next seven days, so that actual marginalised and poor people can get the facility.
Food Minister Sadhan Chandra Majumder gave the order while talking to the Rajshahi divisional commissioner and deputy commissioners on Sunday via video conferencing.
The government introduced the Food Friendly Programme in 2016. Under it, 50 lakh families get 30 kilograms of rice per month at Tk10 during March-April and September-November period.
There are widespread allegations over the listing of people for the food programme, as several media reports found affluent people in the list.
In the wake of such criticisms, the minister ordered the divisional commissioner, deputy commissioners and district food controllers to formulate the new list.
"We must brush aside any pressure or nepotism while formulating the new list," said the food minister.
If required, new officials will have to be tasked with the preparation of list at upazila level excluding the previous "tag officers" who prepared the existing one, said Sadhan Chandra Majumder.
Besides, he asked the deputy commissioners and the officials concerned to speed up paddy procurement to ramp up government food stocks.
He said the farmers are getting fair price for Boro this season and legal action will be taken if anyone found involved in irregularities in the ongoing procurement.
The minister asked the agriculture officials to visit fields ensuring farmers are getting government facilities for Aush paddy and preparing the seedbeds of the variety.
Sadhan Chandra Majumder also urged the farmers to be sincere for Aush cultivation.
"Many farmers get government facilities for Aush but do not cultivate the paddy. Agri stimulants of such farmers will be revoked next time," he added.
In the video conference, the minister also discussed in detail the situation of coronavirus in each district under the Rajshahi division.
The minister directed all concerned to select the actual farmers through lottery who have recently cultivated Boro paddy in the current season.
"The final list containing the names of selected farmers must be pasted (or to be hanged) at information centre of union office following lottery, so that everyone can see it. Such activities should be done with transparency and accountability," he said.
Dr Mosammat Nazmanara Khanum, secretary of Ministry of Food, also participated in the video conference among others.