The government has taken steps so that the low-income and jobless people do not face any food crisis during the “strict lockdown” slated to be enforced from April 14 to contain the transmission of coronavirus.
“So far, an amount of Tk 527.9 crore has been allocated by the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief in two tranches. We’ll increase the allocation, if needed,” its Secretary Md Mohsin told UNB.The fund has already been sent to upazilas and will be disbursed in due time, said Mohsin adding, “Some 12.4 million families will get assistance. We’ll ensure that not a single family without income is left out.”
Bangladesh is set to undergo a week of “strict lockdown” from April 14. People with no fixed income will be out of jobs during this period. Millions had lost jobs during last year’s months-long ‘general holiday’ at the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak. Food crisis had hit a large number of people during that period.
But, Secretary Mohsin said, a contingency plan has been drawn out this time to make sure no one suffers from hunger.
Increasing purchase capacity
The ministry has allocated Tk 121.64r crore for assisting the poor and destitute during the lockdown and the Eid-ul-Fitr, the largest festival of Muslims slated to be celebrated in mid-May.
In another phase, 10.01 million families holding VGF cards will receive financial aid. Another amount of Tk 450.45 crore has been allocated for this purpose. Each family under the Vulnerable Group Feeding programme will get Tk 450, the equivalent price of 10kg rice.“This will help increase the purchase capacity of the destitute families during Ramadan,” Mohsin said, adding that Tk 121.65 crore has been allocated for this purpose.
Allocations and disbursements
So far, Tk 114.2 crore has been disbursed for 4,568 unions – each to get Tk 2.5 lakh. For the 328 municipalities, Tk 5.67 crore has been allocated.
Category A municipalities will get Tk 2 lakh, category B Tk 1.5 lakh and category C Tk 1 lakh.
An amount of Tk 7 lakh has been allocated for Dhaka south and north, Gazipur and Chattogram city corporations each. Mymensingh, Narayanganj, Cumilla, Rajshahi, Rangpur, Khulna, Barishal and Sylhet city corporations got Tk 5 lakh each.
Another amount of Tk 2 lakh has been allocated for each A category district. The B category districts got Tk 1.5 lakh while the C category Tk 1 lakh.
Secretary Mohsin said there would be strict monitoring to ensure the proper distribution of the funds.
All for a successful lockdown
Meanwhile, State Minister for Public Administration Farhad Hossain told UNB that the government is arranging food and financial assistance for the poor and the destitute across the country so that they do not go out of homes in search of work.
Along with financial assistance, seven types of food items -- rice, lentil, oil, salt, sugar, potato and noodles -- will be sent.
“The government is arranging food and money for the low-income people so that they remain in their houses during the lockdown,” the state minister added.