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Tougher punishment for food hoarders on the cards

Cabinet approves draft law

Published : 18 Apr 2022 10:14 PM | Updated : 19 Apr 2022 02:21 PM

The government is going to introduce a fresh law soon with tougher punishments in a bid to prevent crime and malpractice by producing, storing, supplying, marketing and selling food items.

The Cabinet on Monday (April 18) approved the draft of the law under which those involved in illegal food production, storage, transfer, transportation, supply, distribution and marketing will get a maximum of five years imprisonment and a Tk 10 lakh fine.

The title of the proposed law is - ‘Production, Storage, Transfer, Transport, Supply, Distribution and Marketing (Prevention of Harmful Activities) of Food Products Act, 2022.’

The draft of the law got the Cabinet’s approval at a meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office in the capital. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina chaired the meeting.

Cabinet Secretary Khandaker Anwarul Islam said this at a press briefing at the Secretariat after the Cabinet meeting.

The Cabinet Secretary said that the draft came from the Food Ministry. Two laws have been brought together in the proposed law. The ‘Food Grain Supply Prevention of Prejudicial Activity Ordinance, 1989’ and the ‘Food Special Courts Act, 1958’ will be merged after the enactment of the fresh law. 

Khandaker Anwarul Islam said that the proposed law would prevent harmful activities in the production, storage, transfer, transportation, supply, distribution and marketing of food items. This will not control the market, but will ensure quality. Arrangements will be made so that no one can commit immoral acts and buyers will not be deceived.

He also said the draft was designed to prevent any crime in food production, storage, transfer, transportation, supply, distribution and marketing and other related activities.

Khandaker Anwarul Islam said that strict punishment has been proposed in the draft law. If anyone commits an offense under this law, he would get 5 years imprisonment or can be fined a maximum of Tk 10 lakh.

According to the proposed law, anyone who produces excessively harmful substances mixed with food, stocking it over a period of time, will be considered a criminal.

The safe food court would look into the matter and no separate court would be required. Where possible, it can also be tried in a mobile court.

If a food item is confiscated, if the food is perishable, the food item can be sold at auction and kept as a sample. If the food is not perishable but has to be auctioned within 45 days, the money will be with the court. If he is acquitted, he will get the money. If the sentence is given, it will be as the court will order.

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