The government will start selling rice and flour (ata) at a subsidised rate through its open market sale (OMS) programme at the upazila level from today (Thursday).
The government has taken the initiative amid the price spiral of the two essential commodities in the market.
As part of the move, the Ministry of Food (MoF) has appointed a total of 1,760 dealers to ensure that the grassroots level consumers get rice and ata at affordable prices from the OMS outlets.
Price of a kilogram (KG) of rice under OMS programme has been fixed at Tk30 while the price of flour at Tk18 a kg.
A consumer could purchase at a time five kgs of rice and five kgs of flour.
Food Minister Sadhan Chandra Majumder made the disclosure while talking to the media after attending DCs' Conference at Osmani Memorial Auditorium in the capital on Wednesday.
"OMS programme is being run throughout the year by 730 dealers. It (OMS) will now be at the upazila level under 1,760 dealers from Thursday (today)," he said.
The OMS programme will continue at the upazila level until issuance of further notice, he added.
"We (the government) have sufficient stock of quality rice. We hope people will consume this rice," he said.
The MoF directed the deputy commissioners to oversee the OMS programme at the grassroot level properly, he added.
Besides, directives were also given to the local administration to identify the illegal hoarders and fined them and even give them jail term if necessary through mobile courts.
He said necessary instructions were also given to form monitoring teams at the district and upazila levels to ensure hassle-free and flawless operation of the OMS programme.
The government spent Tk36/Tk 37 for importing a kg of rice, and considering consumer interests it is now being sold at Tk30 a kg through OMS.
The OMS programme is widely expected to meet the poor people's food demand in the wake of the rising transmission of the coronavirus across the country.
Prices of all varieties of rice, including the coarse ones, have now shot up remarkably in the kitchen markets.