The government launched Friday a rice-rationing programme for the targeted population in the rural areas.
Under the initiative, some 900 distressed families of every Union Parishad (UP) in the country will receive six kgs of rice each at the rate of Tk 4.0 per kg.
The Minister for Food and Disaster Management Chowdhury Kamal Ibne Yusuf formally launched the programme at Jagir UP premises under Manikgonj district on the day, official sources confirmed.
They said the ministry has already allocated some 120,000 tonnes of rice for the rationing programme.
The government introduced such a programme against the backdrop of the ongoing price spiral of rice in the market, said officials.
Though the government earlier announcement that it would launch the rationing programme from September 29 last, it could not be carried out due to some technical problems.
The Food Planning and Monitoring Committee (FPMC) at its recent meeting decided in principle to start the rationing programme along with the government's open market sale (OMS) and vulnerable group feeding (VGF) programmes from September 29.
Initially, the FPMC targeted about 750 beneficiaries in every UP under the rationing programme in two phases. Later, the number was raised to 900.
Although the authorities planned earlier to provide 12 kgs of rice to each of the beneficiary families, it could not be materialised due to non-availability of additional supply of rice for the programme.
Earlier, the government also launched its scheduled OMS of rice and VGF programme to help keep the rice prices at reasonable levels in the market.
But, both the initiatives have suffered setback due to a poor response from the authorised dealers and faulty distribution system, sources claimed.
The government decided earlier to sell around 300,000 tonnes of rice through OMS through its 18,000 authorised dealers across the country.
Besides, the government has already started distribution of rice through the official VGF programme in the rural areas, officials said.
The authorities have already allocated 120,000 tonnes of rice, aiming to bring some 4,804 municipalities and UPs under the VGF programme, source said, adding each of the beneficiaries will receive 10 kgs of rice.
The government has assigned several local-level monitoring committees and law enforcing agencies to monitor and supervise the ongoing OMS, VGF and palli rationing programmers.
Meanwhile, the prices of rice remained stable in the market even after the launch of such programmes by the government, according to market observers.