Government Decides to Shut Down 6 State-owned Sugar Mills: ASK’s Grave Concern

On 1 December 2020, Bangladesh Sugar and Food Industries Corporation (BSFIC) decided to shut down the production in six of the fifteen the state-owned sugar mills to cut its losses. The six sugar mills are – Pabna Sugar Mill, Shyampur Sugar Mill, Panchagarh Sugar Mill, Setabganj Sugar Mill, Rangpur Sugar Mill and Kushtia Sugar Mill. Declaring to shut down the threshing and production of sugar cane in the state-owned sugar mills during the threshing harvest season, has caused massive concern for thousands of sugar cane farmers working on the production in hundreds of thousands of acres of land and has rendered many of them unemployed. This sudden shut down of the sugar mills made the future of farmers and workers uncertain. There have been questions as to why the state-owned sugar mills are incurring such losses while the private mills have been running on profit. There are allegations that the reason for such losses is said to be the inability of the authority to take decisions promptly, shortage of sugar canes, deteriorating conditions of machinery used for production, inefficient processing of sugar canes, corruption and lack of marketing strategies. There have been claims that this process will create scope of the sugar syndicate to become more profitable. The Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina has given multiple instructions to cut down on losses, but most of the instructions were not implemented. The workers and their leaders have claimed that this decision was made to serve the interest of a certain group. The decision to shut down these sugar mills, without solving the existing problems and trying to modernise the mills, is inconsiderate. ASK urges to immediately withdraw such a careless decision to shut down the six state-owned sugar mills and to create an experts committee that will check how to make the sugar mills profitable; it further urges to effectively implement the recommendations given by the committee.

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