Frequent fire incidents in Shahebganj sugarcane farm belonging to Rangpur Sugar Mills in Gaibandha have adversely affected sugar production in this crushing season.
The mill authorities are yet to find out the reason for the fires despite investigation, but they suspect that some vested quarters might have intentionally torched the cane fields with ill motive.
A fire incident took place on Monday at Madarpur area in Shahebganj cane farm and burnt cane on 16 acres of land. Fire fighters doused the fire after fighting for two hours.
On Sunday last, a fire broke out at the cane farm near its office and spread to the surrounding areas, burning cane on 50 acres of land. Eyewitnesses said the fire spread like forest fire and engulfed the adjoining areas.
Abdul Hamid, station in-charge of Gobindaganj fire service, said at least six units of firefighters were deployed to extinguish the fire, adding that the fire was scattered at different points, so it was difficult for the limited manpower to extinguish it.
Besides, a similar incident took place on January 3 in Noatagari area of the cane farm and burnt cane on 13 acres. Firefighters doused the fire quickly.
On December 23, another fire incident at Chara Batgach of the cane farm damaged cane on nearly 15 acres and partially affected more areas.
Managing Director (MD) of Rangpur Sugar Mills Anower Hossain Akanda said they estimated that fire incidents destroyed 45 acres of land and partially affected 100 acres.
However, the burnt sugarcane was instantly supplied to the mills for crushing and extraction of juice, so the loss might be about 15 percent to 20 percent of the crop, he added.
Despite frequent drives, the criminals involved in the fire incident could not be identified, he further said.
This season, the mills produced 1,100 tonnes of sugar by crushing 29,000 tonnes of cane in 32 days, the MD said, adding that the authorities expect to run the mill for another 30 days.
Mills authorities meanwhile filed two cases in this connection and investigation is going on to identify the culprits involved in the fire incidents, said Gobindagnaj Police Station Officer-in-Charge AKM Mehdi Hasan.