The Pabna Sugar Mills Ltd Authority owes Tk 31 crore to the mills workers and sugarcane farmers. Of this, about 25 crore is for sugarcane farmers and 6 crore is for workers. As a result, they are living an inhuman life in extreme financial crisis during the Corona epidemic.
The information has come to light after talking to sugarcane farmers and workers. Meanwhile, the mill authorities say that there is a stock of sugar worth around Tk 40 crore. Due to the produced sugar being unsold, the money due to the farmers and the salaries of the workers has not been paid.
Shahjahan Ali Badsha, general secretary of the central committee of the National Award-winning Farmers and Sugarcane Farmers Federation, said farmers owed about Tk 178 crore to sugar mills across the country.
Of this, local farmers owe about Tk 25 crore to Pabna Sugar Mill. Farmers have to borrow money to cultivate sugarcane for seeds, fertilizers, irrigation and maintenance.
The farmers pay the debt when they get the money from the mill. The farmers are in trouble as the mill authorities have not paid the arrears for the last 10 months.
Murad Malitha, a sugarcane farmer from Dashuria village, said sugarcane farmers play an important role in keeping the mill running. But even in this bad time, if the money owed is withheld, then naturally the farmers will be discouraged from cultivating sugarcane.
Sajedul Islam Shahin, president of Pabna Sugar Mill Workers Union, said the amount owed to the workers and employees is about Tk 6 crore. He demanded immediate payment of dues to sugarcane growers.