State-owned Kushtia poultry farm in shambles

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Desk Report:

The lone state-owned poultry farm in the district, set up spending Tk 1 crore, is now in dire condition, thanks to corruption and other irregularities.

Although there is an office with employees in it, the poultry sheds have been empty for years now, locals said.

Seven out of the 10 sheds, built to rear some 6,000 chickens, and the chick-incubation chamber remain out of use.

Apart from selling a few one-day chicks, the farm currently has no operational output, sources at the farm said.

The government set up the farm in the 1980s on 4 acres of land at the district’s Jugia region of Barkhada union.

The farm had been operating with success initially, selling eggs and chicks not only to the local operation, but also distributing those to other districts.

Locals alleged that a syndicate had been trying to take over the farm since 2004, forcing the officials to sell off their chickens at lower rates, resulting in occasional clashes and forcing its operations to dwindle.

The farm stopped operating in 2007 and has been dysfunctional ever since.

An official from the farm said no one of the employees is permanently employed, with only the farm manager posted from another region. The positions of office assistants, accounts officers and such have remained vacant for a long time. The security guard is working as the office assistant.

Although there is no transport, a driver has been recruited and been paid regularly.

The driver, Mir Mafiz Uddin, said he has been here for the last 5 years, coming every day in the morning and leaving in the afternoon, as there is no vehicle for him to drive.

Salim Uddin, a poultry attendant, has been working here for 20 years. He expressed his frustration for lack of poultry in the farm.

He lamented that previously the sound of chickens used to reverberate miles away from the farm, but not anymore.

Salim alleged that the machineries of the farm are being dismembered and shifted to other offices, and the poultry land is being put to use for cultivation of other products.

Abdul Mannan, a poultry technician, said reforms are underway, which will enable them to sell 12,000 chicks annually against the pervious number of 10,000.

He also said they buy one-day chicks at Tk 20 a piece, which they later sell once grown up, at government-fixed rates. But he refused to reveal further statistics.

Upon investigating, it was found that some employees are living there with their families, taking monthly salaries from the government without giving any output. Currently, there are nine employees in the farm.

One official revealed that a syndicate is actively trying to sabotage this poultry farm and grabbing whatever revenue comes from selling chickens. The government is incurring huge losses because of this.

Newly-appointed acting farm manager Shahina Khatun said the area is not suitable for rearing poultry, which causes a lot of diseases for the livestock.

She said they can turn things around for this farm with further help from the government.

District livestock officer Dr Asadul Haque expressed optimism about the reform plan saying that it will bring back dynamism in the farm soon.unb

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