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19 May 2024

OMS programme plagued by Corruption allegations

MAUNGTING, Bandarban

Published: 08:38, 18 April 2024

OMS programme plagued by Corruption allegations

Photo: Messenger

Recent revelations have shed light on a series of irregularities plaguing the distribution of subsidized goods for the impoverished through the Open Market Sale (OMS) program in the Bandarban Municipal area. 

Concerns have been raised over the alleged misuse of non-producing mills as flour millers within the OMS programme. Accusations have emerged associating dealers, millers, and associated parties with various malpractices, including falsifying records and manipulating the distribution of OMS flour among beneficiaries. Millers have admitted to these allegations, while complaints persist regarding the failure to revoke appointments despite violations of terms.

According to sources from the District Food Office, the allocation of wheat for the OMS program has been reduced from one ton per ward per working day to six tons per day across nine wards since January. Two appointed mills are tasked with grinding the allotted wheat and distributing it among dealers, with each ward having a designated dealer for OMS flour sales.

Strict record-keeping measures, including stock books and daily sales records, are mandated, along with the maintenance of master rolls detailing beneficiaries' information and purchase quantities. Despite the official price of wheat being set at Tk 47,302.140 per ton, the government subsidizes OMS flour at Tk 24 per kg. Similarly, rice is sold at Tk 30 per kg under the OMS, subsidized from Tk 51,894.589 per ton.

The list of OMS beneficiaries, initially compiled for five wards, has been expanded to include all nine wards, with over 6,000 names registered. However, concerns persist over the automation of beneficiary lists and the transparency of the process.
During a field visit, discrepancies were observed in the master rolls, with numerous signatures appearing to be forged. Dealers have reported receiving excess supplies of flour, leading to surplus stock due to low demand, which some allege is being exploited for profit.

Officials, including Enamul Haque, a dealer from Ward No. 1, and Sirajul Haque, a dealer from Ward No. 9, have corroborated claims of irregularities in flour supply and record-keeping practices. However, Bimal Kanti Dasher, president of the Bandarban Bazar Grocery Shop Traders Association, denies any wrongdoing.