Afzal Khan, a member of the Parul Union Awami League, has been accused of giving less than Tk 10 per kg of rice in a food-friendly program for poor and helpless people in Pirgachha, Rangpur.
He is the owner of Messrs. Khan Traders in Gunjar Khan Haudarpar Bazar, Parul Union and a dealer in a food-friendly program run by the government.
He is accused of exchanging 30 kg of rice at Tk 10 per kg for 25-26 kg. Hundreds of cardholders blocked the road at Haudarpar Bazar on the Rangpur-Sundarganj regional highway on Sunday in protest of the shortage of rice. They demanded the cancellation of Afzal Khan’s dealership.
The blockaders lifted the blockade on the assurance of the upazila administration. Four days after the incident, the concerned authorities did not take any action against the dealer.
It is learned that Afzal Khan, the owner of dealer Messrs. Khan Traders, was selling rice to 504 poor, helpless and destitute people in the area at a price of Tk 10 per kg at Haudarpar Bazar of the upazila under the food-friendly program of the government during the disaster.
He sold rice again last Monday and Tuesday. Instead of 30 kg of rice, 25-26 kg is given. Dealer Afzal Khan and his son Harun Khan started harassing and threatening the cardholders in various ways when they protested against giving 4-5 kg less rice per card.
Outraged over this, the card holders blocked the road at Haudarpar Bazar on the Rangpur-Sundarganj regional highway on Tuesday afternoon. Ordinary people also came and joined it. During the hour-long blockade, long traffic jams occurred on both sides of the road.
Later, Pirgachha Upazila Chairman Shah Mahbubar Rahman, Upazila Nirbahi Officer Sheikh Shamsul Arefin, OC Azizul Islam, Upazila Food Officer Amulya Kumar went to the spot and assured to sell the right amount of rice and punish the dealer.
Meanwhile, four days after the incident, the victims Rostam Ali, Hossain Ali and Shahjahan complained that no action was taken against the dealer, adding that Afzal Khan, the owner of Messrs. Khan Traders, and his son Harun Khan had been cheating the beneficiaries for a long time. Even after we informed them many times, they did not pay attention. By showing the influence of Awami League, on the contrary, it has shown our fear.
Another cardholder, who did not want to be named, said 320 rupees was taken instead of 300 rupees. Even less rice. Harun Khan, the son of the dealer, has to pay money to the Upazila Awami League leaders and it costs a lot to run the dealer, so he forces us to pay. If not, he threatened to cancel the card.
When contacted by dealer Afzal Khan to know about this, he admitted that he gave less rice, he said, there is less rice in the bag. What will I do? It again has transportation costs.
In this regard, Pirgachha Upazila Nirbahi Officer Sheikh Shamsul Arefin said, the situation has been calmed down by going to the spot. The allegations of the victims are being investigated. Necessary action will be taken in case of any irregularity.