Ominous spectre of ‘syndicate’ over mosquito repellent imports

Shahed Shafiq
Published : 05:30, Aug 20, 2019 | Updated : 08:49, Aug 20, 2019

Mosquito repellents being sprayed with a fogger machine in a bid to controll the dengue outbreak. PHOTO: BANGLA TRIBUNE/Sazzad HossainTwo city corporations, DNCC and DSCC, have alleged that due to syndicate of the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) import of mosquito repellent is being impeded. As a result, only two companies are importing repellent which the city corporation is forced to buy.
It’s believed that there are several restrictions in place over the import of items/ingredients needed to kill mosquitoes.
However, DAE claims that decision to import repellent was taken by ‘high position’ in government. City corporation officials have said they buy repellent following government rules and through tender with the quality assured by the plant preservation wing of the DAE and the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR).
Investigation has found that due to some regulations added on Oct 5, 2015, many agencies lost the right to import repellent.
DNCC mayor alleges that this step made the import of repellent hostage at the hands of a syndicate.
The monopoly is in the hands of three-four companies and the syndicate does not allow anyone else to import.
Nurses treat patients infected with dengue at the Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College and Hospital in Dhaka, Bangladesh, August 2, 2019. REUTERSThough the repellent bought by these agencies are proved to be worthless, the city corporations are compelled to buy them.
Plant Preservation Wing, gave a letter to Bangladesh Bank in 2017 asking not to open LCs for the import of lotions, vaporisers or Aerosols.
It (letter) mentioned that such items should be manufactured in the country.
Entomologist and DNCC’s convener for the technical committee on mosquitoes, Dr Manur Ahmed Chowdhury, says: “Due to this move, the import of ready to use lotions, coils and vaporisers stopped, which resulted in the diabolical form of Dengue and Chikunguniya.”
Director of DAE and agriculturist AZM Sabbir Ibne Jahan, says: “This decision was taken from government high up and we cannot comment on it.”
But DNCC mayor has added: “We have broken the syndicate and now will be able to import repellent on our own.”