Poor and disaster hit people in Barisal division have been suffering immensely as 28 out of 40 posts for upazila level food controllers have been vacant for quite a long time, resulting in an acute crisis in the supply of food for implementing development works and managing disaster threats.
Confirming the news, Barisal Regional Food Controller Swapan Krishna Banik said implementation of test relieves, vulnerable group development, vulnerable group feeding, kajer binimoye khadyo (Kabikha) programmes and different disaster related relief activities that depended on the control, monitoring and supervision of food control offices were affected by the vacancies.
Regional food office sources said 7 out of 10 posts for upazila food controller in Barisal, 5 out of 7 in Bhola, 4 out of 5 in Barguna, 4 out of 7 in Patuakhali, 2 out of 4 in Jhalakathi and 6 out of 7 in Pirojpur district remained vacant.
As a result, Uzirpur food controller Mashiur Rahman had been performing extra duties as acting UFC of Babuganj, Banaripara, Hizla and Muladi upazilas, while Gournadi UFC Anwar Hossain was acting UFC of Agoiljhara, Barisal sadar and Mehendiganj, said Barisal district Food Controller Md Yunus.
In this regard, Uzirpir upazila Chairman Abul Kalam Azad Badal said it was tough for them to follow the schedule of the Uzirpur UFC for the department’s administrative works, as he had been performing the duties of UFC in a total of 5 upazilas.
On condition of anonymity, one UFC of the division said: “If one UFC had to do duties in multiple upazilas, not only the works of the designated posting place but also in the other upazilas are affected.”
However, the regional food controller, acknowledging the problems, said they had written several times to appoint officers at the upazila level, but due to a shortage of manpower willing to work at remote upazila levels at the directorate, they could not overcome the crisis.
Officials said recently two UFCs were asked to join in Barisal district, but one of them was yet to join, whereas another returned to Dhaka through a transfer a short time after joining there.