The Pabna Sugar Mills located at Dashuria union in Ishwardi Upazila of Pabna is about to be shut down, due to incurring a loss of more than Tk 400 crore in 20 years. Bangladesh Sugar and Food Industries Corporation has already sent a letter to the Ministry of Industries in this regard. If the ministry decides, the mill will be closed down.
It has been found that apart from Pabna Sugar Mills, five other sugar mills in Kushtia, Setabganj, Rangpur, Shampur and Panchagarh are also on the list of being shut down.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh Sugar Industry Corporation Workers-Employees Federation has called for a nationwide movement with a five points demand to protect the interests of the sugar industry and not to close down the mills. The workers federation has decided to hold gate meeting, demonstrations and human chains in protest at the gate of the sugar mills from today (Saturday). They have also decided not to allow any sugar mill to do 'boiler slow firing' until the date of sugarcane harvesting season is fixed this year. the gate meeting, demonstrations, human chain and the date of Akhmarai season is fixed this year.
Pabna Sugar Mills was set up on December 27 in 1992 on 60 acres of land in Pakuria Mouza under Dashuria Union of Ishwardi. The experimental production of the mills started in the sugarcane harvessting season in the 1997-98 fiscal year. The mill started commercial sugar production in FY 1998-99. Production deficit and loss in the mills started since the beginning. Since the launching, the total loss has been accounted around Tk 400 crore.
An official of the mills said that a target has been set to crush 80,000 metric tonnes of sugarcane at the Pabna Sugar Mills this season. Sugarcane has been cultivated in 5,200 acres of land in the mills zone this year. Against that the mills authorities have provided loans of around Tk 4 crore to the farmers.
Shahjahan Ali Badsha, general secretary of Bangladesh Sugarcane Federation said thousands of farmers in Ishwardi have cultivated sugarcane on their land this year. The sugarcanes have become suitable for cutting now.
If the mills is shut down at this moment, a huge number of farmers will face extreme losses. Ashrafuzzaman Ujjwal, General Secretary of Pabna Sugar Mills Workers’ Union, said the mills workers had not received their salaries for last six months and they are devastated at the news of the mills being shut down.
Pabna Sugar Mills Managing Director Md. Saif Uddin, wsked about the closure of the mill said, "We have not received any letter from the concerned department regarding the closure. However, he said that he had heard about it”.