Cabinet approves draft law to prevent manipulation in food supply chain

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The Cabinet with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair today approved a draft law to prevent manipulation in food supply chain from production stage, suggesting tough punitive actions.

Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam said the proposed Production, Storage, Movement, Transportation, Supply, Distribution and Marketing of Food grains (Prevention of Prejudicial Activity) Act, 2022 was aimed mainly to punish anyone for committing any offense in any stage of the food supply system.

“Persons committing an offense under the proposed law will face as high as five-year jail or Taka 10 lakh as fine,” he told a media briefing at Bangladesh Secretariat after attending the meeting.

He said the proposed law was formulated merging the existing Food grains Supply (Prevention of Prejudicial Activity) Ordinance, 1979 and the Food (Special Courts) Act, 1956 while it was also aimed to ensure quality food items.

Islam said punitive measures were suggested for disseminating misleading information in the stages of production, storage, movement, transportation, supply, distribution and marketing of food grains as well.

The law was approved in principle, he added.

Elevated way in Haor areas:
Islam said the Cabinet categorically issued a directive to construct elevated ways alone in the country’s Haor areas, instead of ordinary or general ones, to ensure natural water flow.

The cabinet, he said, also sought to know the impact of the Austagram-Mithamain Haor “all-weather road” and asked authorities concerned to assess whether it caused any water stagnation in the Hoar.

The Cabinet also asked authorities to conduct a survey if the water stagnation problem would go in case of construction of 150-200 meter bridges in every half a kilometer or so.

The cabinet secretary said the meeting was informed that ongoing flash floods so far damaged the crops on 5,000 hectares of land in Haor region while crops were cultivated in 270,000 hectares of Haor land.

The meeting, however, expected that paddy harvesting might be completed by April 30 next and crop losses would be unlikely if there as no rain in the next 8-10 days.

Attia Forest (Protection) Act, 2022:
The draft of Attia Forest (Protection) Act, 2022 was placed in the meeting, but the cabinet directed authorities concerned to bring it again after conducting a digital survey over its lands in view of changed landscapes in that area over the decades.

Islam said the land comprising some 59,000 acres in Tangail and Dhaka districts was first declared as reserved forest through a law in 1928.

The meeting was informed that the digital survey could be completed within 3 to 4 months after getting approval of the purchase committee, he said.

The Cabinet, earlier, approved in principle the proposed law on October 28, 2021 but since the law lost its effectiveness, the Attia Forest (Protection) Ordinance, 1982 was promulgated during the military regime.