Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) on Sunday announced a two-day programme demanding that the government ensure fair prices of paddy and clear all the arrears of jute mill workers.
As part of the programmes, the party will submit memorandums to deputy commissioners across the country on May 21 while its leaders and activists will form human chains at all the union-level haat-bazaars on May 23 to press for their demands.BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi announced the programmes at a press conference at the party’s central office of Nayapaltan in the capital.
The BNP leader criticised Agriculture Minister Abdur Razzaque for ruling out the possibility of raising the government's food grain procurement prices despite the serious resentment among the farmers over the falling paddy prices.
The BNP leader alleged that the government is depriving farmers of fair prices of their produces only to create a scope for ruling party men to make money.
He said the farmers are setting fire to their own paddy fields at different parts of the country, including Tangail, Joypurhat and Netrokona, as they have been counting a loss of Tk 300 per maund due to the price fall.
Rizvi said though the loan defaulters are getting huge debt waivers and thousands of crores of taka are being plundered in the name of mega projects, the government is depriving the farmers of the fair prices of their crops, let alone giving them subsidy.
The BNP leader said the government fixed the procurement rate of per maund paddy at Tk 1,040, but the farmers are being forced to sell the harvest to middlemen at Tk 450 to Tk 500 per maund. “Local Awami league leaders, mill owners and officials concerned are pocketing the rest of the money, depriving farmers.”He urged the government to procure paddy directly from farmers instead of mill owners.
About the ongoing movement of workers of the 22 state-run jute mills, he said the workers’ all the demands, including clearing their all arrears and implementing their new pay scale, are justified ones.
He urged the government to immediately accept the demands of the jute mill workers.