Sugarcane growers under the jurisdictions of Panchagarh Sugar Mills and Joypurhat Sugar Mills have demanded immediate payment of their dues for the item supplied during the last crushing season.
Sugarcane suppliers of Panchagarh Sugar Mills brought out a procession in the town and held a discussion in front of the mill gate yesterday demanding their dues, reports our correspondent from Thakurgaon.
In the afternoon, they submitted memorandum to the prime minister through the managing director of Panchagarh Sugar Mills to press home their 11-point demand including immediate payment of their Tk 6 crore arrear dues.
They also demanded raising the purchase rate of per maund sugarcane to Tk 150 from present Tk 100.
Around five thousand farmers supplied about 95,000 tonnes of sugarcane to the mills for about two months during the recently ended crushing season but they are yet to get their dues worth about Tk 6 crore, said leaders of district sugarcane growers' association.
Despite regularly approaching the mill authorities, the farmers have to return empty-handed, they said.
They warned of launching a tougher movement if their demand is not met immediately.
Contacted over cell phone, Abdur Rashid, managing director of Panchagarh Sugar Mills Ltd, said, "In last crushing season ending on 4 April, the mill produced 6,250 tonnes of sugar by crushing around 95,000 tonnes of sugarcane. But we are still unable to pay the dues to the farmers as the sugar of last two seasons, amounting about 10,000 tonnes, has remained unsold."
"The dealers are not interested to draw sugar from state-owned sugar mills as the private companies are selling a kg of sugar at Tk 38 while the rate of state owned mills is Tk 40. The private companies who import raw sugar set their prices lower than the one fixed by state-own mills," he said.
He demanded increasing the import duty on raw sugar to save the state-owned sugar mills as livelihood of thousands of families including mill workers and sugarcane farmers is related with it.
Our Dinajpur Correspondent reports: Several thousand sugarcane growers from different upazilas of Joypurhat staged demonstration in front of the gate of Joypurhat Sugar Mills yesterday demanding their arrear payment of 2013-14 sugarcane crushing season.
Around 14,000 farmers cultivated sugarcane on 10,000 acres of land in the district with hope to get profit but most sugarcane suppliers are yet to get their payment, the growers said at a rally there.
"As the mill authorities are yet to disburse Tk 12 crore arrear dues, farmers regularly visit the mill to get their payment, but they return frustrated," Abu Taleb Chowdhury Babu, president of Joypurhat Akh Chashi Kalyan Samity, said at the rally.
Abdus Salam, managing director of Joypurhat Sugar Mills, said, "There is around 15,000 tonnes of unsold sugar worth Tk 60 crore at the mill. As soon as the stored sugar is sold, the sugarcane suppliers will be paid their dues. Otherwise, the mill has no fund to meet the growers' demand."