PM opens food-friendly programme for ultra-poor

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today formally inaugurated a new social safety net scheme titled 'Food-Friendly Programme', for some 50 lakh ultra-poor families across the country.

Hasina inaugurated the programme through distributing fair price food ration cards among the heads of 15 families at a function at Thanahat AU Pilot High School Ground at Chilmari upazila in Kurigram.

The Ministry of Food and the District Administration jointly organised the programme.

According to official sources, some 1,25,279 families in the district will be benefited under the scheme that aims to provide about 50 lakh poor families across the country the opportunity to buy 30 kg rice at Tk 10 per kg a month for five lean months during the dry season. Such facility for the ultra-poor families will be available during the months of March, April and September, October and November of the year.

Under the programme, selected cardholders will get 30 kilograms of rice every month through village ration dealers at a rate of Tk 10 per kg.

The ultra-poor families have been selected through the local public representatives. They will get 30 kg rice in September, October and November in 2016 and March and April in 2017. The months have been selected in view of non-availability of work for the day-labourers.

According to the Poverty Maps Brochure 2010, prepared by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, Kurigram has the poverty rate of 63.7 percent, the highest among all the districts.

Meanwhile, about 30 km road from the district town to Chilmari upazila have been decorated with colourful archways, banners and festoons to greet the Prime Minister on this noble occasion.

Presided over by Food Minister adv Qumrul Islam, the programme was addressed, among others, by Agriculture Minister Begum Matia Chowdhury, and Cultural Affairs Minister Asaduzzaman Noor.

Food Ministry Secretary AM Badrudduja delivered the welcome address.