Vol. 5 Num 622 Mon. February 27, 2006  
Front Page

Farmers' fury boils over
They agitate for fertiliser, power

Persistent fuel and power crises fanned further agitation among the fertiliser-hungry farmers as they continued barricading roads and hemming local government offices in several districts yesterday in the peak boro season.

Agitators in Tangail, Khulna, Satkhira, Rajshahi and Kishoreganj, among other districts, staged demonstrations demanding fertiliser and in protest against outage.

As many as 10 people were injured in an attack during fertiliser distribution in Mollarhat upazila in Bagerhat. Awami League (AL) leaders clashed with police while laying a siege to the deputy commissioner's (DC) office in Satkhira.

In Tangail, hundreds of farmers along with common people besieged the Mirzapur Pally Bidyut Samity office and barricaded Dhaka-Tangail Highway in the morning. They marched in a procession in front of the Pally Bidyut office around 10:30am.

Protesting the ongoing crises of power, fuel, fertiliser, and price hikes of essentials, speakers at a rally urged the government to initiate immediate move to deal with the situating.

Participants of the rally blocked Dhaka-Tangail Highway at 11:30am, disrupting vehicular movement for half an hour. Hundreds of buses, trucks and other vehicles were stranded on both sides of the road until the barricade was lifted.

A large number of leaders, activists and supporters of Krishak League laid a siege to the offices of Dumuria upazila nirbahi officer (UNO) and local agriculture in Khulna, demanding urea at a reasonable price.

The agitators held a rally on the UNO office premises where they alleged the government is patronising dealers loyal to it for hoarding urea and selling it at higher prices.

They further alleged nine of the 15 dealers in connivance with the UNOs in the district have created an artificial crisis of fertiliser.

A source in the Department of Agriculture said they have already initiated probes into the matter with the help of intelligence agencies.

The district needs 44,000 tonnes of urea annually, but only 16,340 tonnes were so far allocated in the current fiscal year, said a source in the DC office.

Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation is yet to allocate the full quantities of urea required to meet the demand of the season, the source added.

Ten people including a local AL leader were injured in an attack by some unidentified men during fertiliser distribution at Chowrangi Bazar in Mollarhat upazila in Bagerhat yesterday.

In Satkhira, over 2,000 AL activists laid a siege to the DC office. They blockaded the road leading to the office for three hours, demanding uninterrupted supply of fertiliser and electricity.

The road blockade beginning at 10:30am caused a huge snarl-up. At one stage, the demonstrators clashed with police.

Speakers at a rally during the siege alleged the 'Hawa Bhaban syndicate' is hoarding fertiliser and fuel has a hand in price hikes.

They also said Power Development Board has failed dismally to ensure electricity supply ahead of the SSC examinations scheduled to start on March 9.

In Rajshahi, over 100 farmers demonstrated for fertiliser, diesel and uninterrupted power supply. They paraded the city streets in a procession and held a rally in the court area.

Meanwhile, fertiliser dealers for the second consecutive day yesterday did not take out fertiliser of the buffer stocks, adding to the sufferings of the farmers.

They stopped drawing fertiliser from the stock from February 25, claiming the imported fertiliser to be of low quality.

In Kishoreganj, about 2,000 farmers and locals laid a siege to the offices of Katiadi UNO and Rural Electrification Board.