600 dealers blamed for fertiliser crisis in North |
Hasibur Rahman Bilu, Bogra
Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation (BCIC) and administration in several districts identified at least 600 fertiliser dealers in 16 northern districts as responsible for allegedly creating artificial crisis of fertiliser in the region.
District administration sources said most of these dealers, including 31 of 163 dealers in Bogra, had been appointed during the tenure of the immediate past four-party coalition government.
Meanwhile, police seized three cargos of TSP fertiliser at Baushia ghat near Meghna-Gomoti bridge in Gajaria upazila of Munshiganj yesterday.
According to the BCIC and district administration, there are 1,449 fertiliser dealers in the northern districts.
A large number of these dealers--mostly BNP and four-party alliance leaders and activists--were given licence upon consideration of their political identities, sources alleged.
They include BNP leader and Bogra Municipality Ward Commissioner Sifer-Al-Bakhtiar, Sajanpur upazila Jubo Dal Secretary Enamul Haque, BNP leader of the same upazila Shafiqul Islam, and a former woman BNP lawmaker from Bogra.
When contacted, Bakhtiar denied the allegation of being involved in unlawful marketing and creating artificial crisis of fertiliser. He said he sold the entire allocation of 54 tonnes of fertiliser on open market in Bakshi Bazar area of Bogra town.
The market, however, is a kitchen market.
Jubo Dal leader Enamul admitted that he got the dealership at the fag end of the four-party alliance government's tenure. Claiming himself an "experienced dealer", he said his father was also a fertiliser dealer.
Another BNP leader Shafiqul also admitted that he got the dealership licence during the four-party alliance government's tenure.
Meanwhile, the BCIC divisional manager for Rajshahi said yesterday they supplied more fertiliser than the actual requirement--on an average 5,000 tonne urea per day for 16 northern districts against the daily demand of 3,567 tonne.
Almost 62 percent of the total demand in January has been supplied from 14 buffer stocks up to January 18, he said, adding that a huge quantity of urea is stockpiled at the Baghabari river port godown and other buffer stocks.
A senior BCIC official said if the authorities inspect the godowns of the fertiliser dealers and take action against the dealers responsible for creating the artificial crisis, the price of fertiliser is likely to come down below Tk 300 per 50kg bag.
The urea is presently selling at Tk 350-400 per 50kg bag in a few areas of northern districts.
Our correspondent in Munshiganj reports: The seized cargos loaded with 34,500 bags of TSP fertiliser started from the Chittagong depot and were heading for Mirkadim of Munshiganj and Daudkandi of Comilla.
After 10,000 bags were unloaded at Baushia ghat which is not a godown area, the police found it suspicious and stopped the cargos and sought for proper documents. The law enforcers also took two of the masters of the vessels to the police station.
The three vessels--MV Karabi, MV Madinar Pothe and MV Daffodil--were kept anchored under police supervision.
Abidur Reza, an official of Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation at Comilla, said the cargos were unloading at Daudkandi as the navigability in the river has declined near the Mirkadim godown.
Highway Sergeant of Bhober Char police box at Gajaria Zillur Rahman filed a case with the Gajaria Police Station.
Deputy Commissioner of Munshiganj Monir Uddin said the Gajaria upazila nirbahi officer (UNO) was directed to take necessary steps if any irregularity is proved.