Launch of a comic book food subsidy program – Journal

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FATULLAH: Bangladesh launched a nationwide food subsidy program on Sunday after the prices of cooking oil, lentils and other food staples spiked following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Rising production costs, which officials blame on wild price swings in the global oil market since the conflict began, have sparked murmurs of discontent around the nation of 170 million in recent weeks.

Opposition activists accused traders of profiteering and staged several protest rallies, with a nationwide strike against soaring prices scheduled for the end of the month.

Commerce Ministry chief Tapan Kanti Ghosh said the program would provide cheap food to 10 million people and would continue until the end of Ramazan.

“The war in Ukraine drove up crude oil prices, which impacted global commodity prices,” he said.

Hundreds of people were seen queuing in the hot sun waiting for rations on the first day of the program in Fatullah, an industrial hub on the outskirts of Dhaka.

Mosharraf Hossain, a coxswain, said he had to wait four hours before making his purchase.

“It’s still worthy. The price hike in the regular market is incredible,” he added.

Hossain said business owners told him the “ongoing war near Russia” was the reason they raised the price of their goods, but he was skeptical.

“Rice, lentils and sugar are mainly produced in our country,” he said. “Is the war here in Bangladesh? It’s pure bluff.

Posted in Dawn, March 21, 2022

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