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The disaster management and relief ministry has allocated Tk 122 crore (Tk 1.22 billion) or Tk 500 per head to support poor and distressed families financially during the pandemic.

Each union parishad will get Tk 2.5 lakh (Tk 250 thousand) from the allocation, ministry sources said.

The relief fund was actually planned for distribution in the coming Ramadan month. In the backdrop of the poor people's economic crunch due to the ongoing seven-day lockdown, the government has now decided to distribute the money earlier.

Besides the fresh allocation, the relief ministry will distribute Tk 4 crore (Tk 40 million) under the vulnerable group feeding programme. The money was supposed to be distributed before the coming Eid-ul-Fitr.

Along with this, the ministry has allocated Tk 7 crore (Tk 70 million) to provide the target groups with dry food.

The ministry sources said the size of the allocation would be enhanced in case the government extends the Covid-19 restrictions like lockdown for more days.

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The disaster management and relief secretary Md. Mohsin told Prothom Alo that the deputy commissioners in 64 districts were instructed on 6 April to launch the distribution of the relief fund within a couple of days. The ministry held a virtual meeting where the deputy commissioners participated.

The government imposed a seven-day lockdown since 5 April to contain the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic.

Several studies suggest that Covid-19 restrictions on people’s movement and economic activities badly impact on poor and low-income communities.

Secretary Md. Mohsin said local administration would distribute the relief fund among the unemployed and distressed. Local people representatives would prepare the list of target people.

With the allocation of Tk 7 crore (Tk70 million), seven essential food items including rice, lentils and sugar would be distributed among the target people.

Meanwhile, the stock of rice in government warehouses has decreased considerably.

According to the food planning and monitoring unit of the food ministry, 4.85 lakh (485 thousand) tonnes of rice was stocked in the government warehouses till 4 April 2021, though the rice stock was 15.86 lakh (1.58 million) tonnes in the corresponding month of last year.

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