Sugarcane farmers, workers protest against mills closure

04 December 2020

News Desk :
Farmers and workers blocked the Pabna-Ishwardi road on Thursday protesting the decision of suspending sugarcane crushing in Pabna Sugar Mills for the current season.
The Pabna Sugar Mills is located at Dashuria union under Ishwardi upazila of Pabna. The government is thinking to close down the mills 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 concerned in this regard.
Pabna Sugar Mills was set up on December 27 in 1992 on 60 acres of land at Pakuria Mouza under Dashuria Union.
The experimental production of the mills started in the sugarcane harvesting season in the 1997-98 fiscal year. The mills started commercial sugar production in FY 1998-99. Production deficit and loss in the mills started since the beginning. Since the launch, the total loss has been accounted for around Tk 400 crore.
Managing Director of Pabna Sugar Mills Md Saif Uddin said, "We have not received any letter from the concerned department regarding the closure. However, he said that he had heard about it."
The sugarcane farmers and workers also demonstrated in Dinajpur and Panchagarh districts against the closure sugar mills in the country.  In Dinajpur, sugarcane farmers and workers staged a demonstration and blocked the road in front of Dinajpur's Setabganj Sugar Mills in protest against the closure order of six sugar mills in the country, reports our correspondent Faruk Hossain.
The demonstration began around 10am and continued till 4 pm.
Protesters blocked the road by setting fire on tires and staging demonstrations.
Sugarcane farmers and workers said if their demands are not met in a meeting with the Chairman of Bangladesh Sugar and Food Industries Corporation in Dhaka, they will go for a tough movement.
In Panchagarh, the workers staged a demonstration in front of the Panchagarh Sugar Mills  in the morning where the workers' union leaders spoke against the closure order of six sugar mills in the country, said our correspondent Sazzadur Rahman Sazzad.
In protest of the government's possible move to close down the mills, workers and employees of sugar mills and sugarcane farmers began a nationwide movement on 21 November with a five point-demand to protect the interest of the sugar industry and not to close down the mills.
The Bangladesh Sugar Industry Corporation Workers-Employees Federation called the nationwide movement following the government's move. Leaders of the platform said that they would continue movement until their demand is fulfilled.

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