The probe team for Wednesday's Nachole riot yesterday said a few dishonest traders are taking advantage of the growing demand for fertiliser and doing illegal marketing allegedly with the help of administrative officials, creating artificial fertiliser crisis in the northern districts.
The probe committee headed by Chapainawabganj Additional District Magistrate Mustafizur Rahman reportedly found a top upazila official responsible for the rampage and recommended his punishment.
The committee is likely to submit its report today. The other committee members are Additional Superintendent of Police Sazzadur Rahman and Deputy Director of Agriculture Extension Department Asim Kumar Malakar.
The probe body had collected hand-written description of the incident from some 50 persons including fertiliser-dealers, government staff and farmers.
Meanwhile, fertiliser distribution in Nachole resumed yesterday under the supervision of senior administrative officials and army personnel. The authorities decided to allocate 10kg urea for every farmer cultivating Aus on one bigha land.
Some 1,500 dealers in northern region, including 50 in Chapainawabganj and 10 in Nachole upazila, were appointed during the tenure of the BNP-led four-party coalition government. Most of them were outsiders which is in violation of the rules, said Malakar.
"The fact was known to us all but we could not take steps for fear of aggravating situations. If anyone inspects the godowns of these dealers and checks their sales, gross anomalies will be certainly found," he said.
Another committee member said, "During distribution of fertiliser, the government staff used to get a good amount of bribe from the dealers. The process has now stopped and this has irked them."
In January, Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation (BCIC) and authorities in the districts identified some 600 fertiliser dealers in 16 northern districts as responsible for creating artificial crisis in the region, said sources in Rajshahi.
A large number of these dealers--mostly leaders and activists of the BNP and its allies--were given licence on consideration of their political identity. Licences were also given to outsiders in exchange for bribes, the sources added.
Out of 90 dealers appointed in 2001, some 25 do not live in the district although as per rules, fertiliser dealers are to be chosen from local areas. The recruitment committees ignored the rules for bribes or political pressure.
Three dealers at Boalia in Rajshahi are from the same family based at Nagarbari in Pabna. Two of the eight dealers for Tanore upazila and Rajshahi also came from Pabna.
Another dealer from Shibrampur of Pabna allegedly has 20 dealership licences for a few northern districts. Sources said he owns eight dealing centres only in Rajshahi and Pabna.