The Cabinet on Monday approved a draft law with the provision of a maximum of five years' imprisonment and a Tk10 lakh fine as punishment for illegal production, storage, transfer, transportation, supply, distribution and marketing of food products.
The draft of "Production, Storage, Transfer, Transport, Supply, Distribution and Marketing (Prevention of Harmful Activities) of Food Products Act, 2022" got approval in the Cabinet meeting held at the Prime Minister's Office with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.
At a press briefing after the meeting, Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam said the Prevention of Harmful Activities of Food Products Act is a combination of the previous 1956 and 1979 laws.
The Bangladesh Food Safety Authority and executive magistrates will conduct courts and slap fines for violating the law, he said.
The authorities concerned will place the forfeited foods on auction immediately if they are perishable and by 45 days if they are non-perishable items, Anwarul said.
According to the new law, a production related offence refers to the use of harmful chemicals or other substances for producing crops or other food items, storage offence involves the storing of foods for an unauthorised period and creating a food shortage in the market, he said.
Moreover, transport offence refers to the transference of foods outside the proper channel while supply, distribution and marketing offences involve anomalies in distribution and carrying the foods, the Cabinet secretary said.
Some 89% of decisions taken by the Cabinet from January 2019 to March 2022 have been implemented, while the implementation of the remaining 11% is underway, Anwarul said.
The Cabinet took a total of 748 decisions during the period. Of them, 666 have already been implemented and the implementation of 82 others is underway, he said.
Some 252 decisions out of 258 decisions taken by the Cabinet in 2019 were implemented, while 237 out of 251 decisions taken in 2020 were executed, he said.
Moreover, some 141 out of 180 decisions taken in 2021 were implemented and 36 out of 59 decisions taken in 2022 (till March) were executed, the Cabinet secretary added.
The Cabinet also discussed the flood issues of haor areas and possible solutions, the secretary said.
"No new roads can be constructed in the haor areas. If necessary, elevated roads are the only option from now on. Moreover, a decision has been taken to survey whether it is possible to build bridges on the existing roads in haor areas with half a kilometre intervals so that water can move easily under the bridges," he added.