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5-yr jail for food related offense: Cabinet clears draft law

The Cabinet on Monday approved the draft of Production, Storage, Movement, Transportation, Supply, Distribution and Marketing of Food grains (Prevention of Prejudicial Activity) Act, 2022 providing for punishment for offenses in any stage of the food supply chain.

The approval came from the Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her office here.

“If anyone commits an offense under the proposed law, the person would be awarded maximum five-year jail or highest Tk 10 lakh as fine,” said Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam while briefing reporters at Bangladesh Secretariat, UNB reports.

He said the proposed law was brought by merging two existing laws — Foodgrains Supply (Prevention of Prejudicial Activity) Ordinance, 1979 and the Food (Special Courts) Act, 1956 with a view to ensure quality food items.

The cabinet secretary said tougher punishment has been proposed in the draft law to prevent offenses and misleading information in the stages of production, Storage, Movement, Transportation, Supply, Distribution and Marketing of food grains.

Besides, the draft of Attia Forest (Protection) Act, 2022 was placed in the meeting, but the Cabinet directed the authorities concerned to bring it again after conducting a digital survey over its lands.

The Cabinet earlier approved in principle the proposed law on October 28, 2021.

The digital survey is essential as the nature of its lands changed in different areas. Otherwise, it would create problems, said the cabinet secretary.

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

Anwarul Islam said the land comprising of some 59,000 acres in Tangail and Dhaka districts was first declared as reserved forest through a law in 1928. Since the law lost its effectiveness, the Attia Forest (Protection) Ordinance, 1982 was promulgated during the military regime.

Only elevated way can be constructed in Haor: Cabinet

The Cabinet made a clear instruction that no road except elevated ones can be constructed in the country’s Haors to ensure the water flow.

About Austagram-Mithamain Haor all-weather road, the meeting also asked the authorities concerned to assess whether the road causes any adverse effect regarding the water stagnation in the Hoar, said the top bureaucrat.

The Cabinet also asked to conduct a survey if the water stagnation problem would go in case of construction of a 150-200 meter bridge in the Hoar road maintaining a logical distance like in every half a kilometer, he said.

In the meeting, it was informed that flash floods have so far damaged the crops on 5,000 hectares of land in the Haor region. Crops are cultivated in a total of 270,000 hectares of Haor-land in the country, said the cabinet secretary.

Noting that the harvesting of paddy might be completed by April 30 next, he said it is expected that no crop would be damaged anymore there if there is no rain in the next 8-10 days.