Officials stress need for monitoring to ensure proper use of funds
The government has taken a special initiative to deliver relief to distressed children across the country.
“We have taken the initiative as per the guidance of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina,” said Md Akram Hossain, additional secretary (relief) of the Disaster Management and Relief Ministry.
“We have been allocated Tk7.94 crore to purchase food for children. Of the amount, we have already disbursed Tk5.31crore to the deputy commissioners of 64 districts,” he told the Dhaka Tribune.
The Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief has categorized city corporations and districts in keeping with their demand for relief.
According to the plan, special grade city corporations such as Dhaka South, Dhaka North, and Gazipur City Corporations, and A grade city corporations or districts such as Chittagong, Rajshahi City Corporation, Tangail, and Faridpur district, have received Tk15,00,000, B-grade districts such as Narsingdi and Manikganj have received Tk10,00,000, and C-grade districts such as Madaripur and Magura have received Tk9,00,000.
However, district administrations have proposed increases to the child relief budget. The Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief has already received a demand proposal from the city corporations and district administrations for an additional Tk1.6crore until April 23.
In addition, the Relief Ministry has stressed the need for stringent monitoring to ensure that the relief funds are not misappropriated.
“Child relief is a good initiative by the government, but a lack of monitoring makes it hard to ensure the funds are being spent properly,” said Akram Hossain.
A circular from the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief said powdered Milk Vita milk is required for the relief package, and it needs to be acquired on a G2G basis.
Dates, biscuits, fortified oil, fortified rice, brown sugar, semolina, lentils, sago, nuts, water purifying tablets and quality readymade baby food will be included in the relief package.
An Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) of the Barisal Division said: “All of the selected products are not always available at the grassroots level, such as powdered milk and readymade food.”
Stressing the need for monitoring, a UNO of the Dhaka Division said: “The Relief Committee has made relief packages for children, but sometimes they make it only as far as those who have close relationships with elected representatives.”
Dhaka Divisional Commissioner Mustafizur Rahman said: “DCs have been instructed to properly distribute the relief maintaining documentation.”