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Sale of OMS rice to marginal people

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02nd-Apr-2020       
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THE government is going to launch a special open market sale (OMS) of coarse rice at Tk 10 per kg in all city corporation areas to ensure food for the urban poor amid the countrywide public holiday for coronavirus. The shutdown is being enforced as part of the efforts to slow down the spread of COVID-19, which has so far claimed five lives in the country. Food Ministry officials said the government has different programmes to ensure food for the country's poor living in rural areas. But it does not have any such programme for the poor and the disadvantaged living in urban areas. The government move -- the special OMS programme -- for the urban poor came as many marginal-income group people have lost their earnings. Thousands of marginalised people are now in a tight spot as they cannot go outside to earn their livelihoods. Like many others, the urban poor have also found themselves in a precarious situation and are passing their days in hardship. They largely cannot meet their basic needs, including food, as their income opportunities have dropped significantly.
As part of the efforts to alleviate the economic pains of low-income groups, including labourers, rickshaw pullers and street vendors, the government has planned to sell the rice through the special OMS programme. According to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, 26.6 percent of service workers, 22.8 percent of production and transport-related workers, and 17.7 percent of sales workers deal with poverty in usual time. This trend has increased now. Under the existing OMS programme, the government sells coarse rice at Tk 30 per kg and flour at Tk 18 per kg in trucks. Under the special OMS initiative, the government will sell only coarse rice. For this, the government is likely to allocate about 55,000 tonnes of the coarse rice in two months for the urban poor.
Earlier, we witnessed that the ruling party men misappropriated the allocation for the ultra poor of selling them rice at Tk 10 per kg. The people won't tolerate the recurrence of such episode during this deadly coronavirus outbreak.

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