The secretaries of different ministries, who have been put in charge of relief coordination in different districts, want to publish lists of beneficiaries at union and municipality levels on deputy commissioners' websites for transparency.
They also want to strictly monitor trade officers' activities at the union and municipality level to prevent relief anomalies and corruption by local public representatives and politicians.
Fifty lakh ration cards are being made for poor people who became jobless across the country in the ongoing lockdown.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has also announced stimulus packages of Tk760 crore to give cash to the poor. Many local authorities and politicians were found to have misappropriated relief rice instead of distributing it. When these incidents were revealed, secretaries were given the responsibility of monitoring relief distribution on April 20.
Sixty four secretaries in 64 districts will work on relief distribution and maintaining law and order. If there is any problem anywhere, they will inform the Prime Minister's Office and the relevant ministries.
After getting the responsibility, many secretaries visited their districts, and held meetings over phone and video conference with local administration, ministers, parliament members and local authorities of the districts. Some secretaries formed cells to properly implement coordination work.
Mohammad Jainul Bari, the secretary to the social welfare ministry, has got the responsibility for Sunamganj district. He told The Business Standard that he has made a decision to give responsibility to a trade officer in every union and municipality so that no local politician or others could embezzle relief material.
"The trade officer will monitor transportation, allocation and distribution of relief rice. If they perform their duties properly, no one will be able to embezzle or steal relief."
Bari said transparency will be maintained in making the lists so that the people who are really poor can get advantages from the new ration cards and the package announced by the prime minister.
"The lists being made by local officials from ward, union and upazila levels will be examined properly. For this, the draft lists will be published on the deputy commissioners' websites so that the names of rich people, if any, can be removed, and so that opinions can be taken from the general people to include names of poor families if they were not included before."
"Two officials have been given responsibility by forming a cell in the ministry to properly perform the duties given by the government. I have talked to the district's minister, parliament member and the local authorities over the phone. I will go to Sunamganj on Thursday and will hold a meeting with the local administration and public representatives," he added.
Secretary to the Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation Division (IMED) Abul Mansur Md Faizullah has been given the responsibility of coordinating relief distribution activities in Thakurgaon district. For this, he has formed a sub-committee by including the division's four officials.
He has already visited Thakurgaon and held a meeting with the deputy commissioner, civil surgeon, superintendent of police, designated army representative and others of the administration. Local parliament members Md Dabirul Islam and Md Jahidur Rahman, former minister Ramesh Chandra Sen and local Awami League leaders were present at the meeting.
Mansur told The Business Standard, "I have talked to local politicians, public representatives and the local administration so that the people who are really poor can get the advantage, and transparency is maintained in relief activities. They all said they will help in this regard."
"Due to the current lockdown, the income of people of all professions, including those in poultry farming, dairy farming and day labourers, has decreased. Many are in a helpless state. The workers who cut paddy may earn some money for a few days. After that, they will also become jobless."
Mansur also said, "I have collected a list of people who are the beneficiaries of government relief and food-friendly programmes. The poor people who are not included in these programmes will be given relief in the future. A committee with IMED officials has been formed to work on this."
Secretary to the Planning Division Nurul Amin has got the responsibility for Naogaon district.
He told The Business Standard, "Work to formulate the Annual Development Programme (ADP) for the next financial year has started. We have to work to separate funds to tackle the Covid-19 crisis from the fund of the current year's revised ADP that remains unused."
Amin thinks that in this situation, it is a slightly extra burden for him to coordinate relief activities of a district.
He said, "I have visited Naogaon. The good news is that there has been a good yield of paddy in the district this year. New paddy will grow within a few days. Relief may not be that necessary then. However, the relief activities for the next few days are very important."
"I maintain contact with the local administration. If necessary, I am also in touch with public representatives. During visits to the district, local leaders and activists of the Awmai League are found to be there, but not the parliament members.
"I have to direct relief activities by coordinating work with my own division. Neither one is less important work. Although no committee has been formed in this regard, I am taking help from workers and officials of the Planning Division," he added.
Secretary to the agriculture ministry Md Nasiruzzaman has got the responsibility for Jhalakathi district.
On Monday, he told The Business Standard, "Ensuring transparency in relief distribution and impartiality in making beneficiaries' list by maintaining close contact with the district administration and local public representatives is being prioritised. Basically, the Prime Minister's Office is monitoring the countrywide relief distribution and listing of poor people. Our job is to connect the Prime Minister's Office with those in the district who have been given responsibility. The Prime Minister's Office and the relevant ministries will be informed to solve problems in the district, including those that may arise during relief distribution."
Zakir Hossain Akand, member of the Agriculture, Water Resources and Rural Institution Division under the Planning Commission and a secretary, has been given the responsibility for relief coordination in Habiganj district.
He said, "I have to coordinate relief activities in the district over the phone. I need to contact the deputy commissioner several times a day. I also have discussions with the local parliament member, minister and the state minister. If there is a problem anywhere, I take the help of the local administration and politicians in addition to different ministers and secretaries."
He also said, "A cell to coordinate relief has already been formed, which consists of officials of my division. If necessary, I, along with the cell members, will go to visit the district."