Demanding steps to protect Sahebganj agriculture farm of Rangpur Sugar Mills in Gaibandha from land grabbers, labourers and sugarcane growers announced a 20-day agitation programme from September 5.
The programmes include submission of memorandum, human chain, demonstration in Mohimaganj and Gobindaganj, road and rail blockade and a half-day hartal.
They made the announcement at a press conference at the mill’s gate on Sunday. Rangpur Chinikal Sramik-Karmachari Union and cane growers jointly organised the conference.
The speakers at the programme also demanded to stop looting in the cane farm, criminal activities and attack on them and preventing government officials from discharging their duties.
At the press conference, Faruk Hossain, assistant secretary of the union, read out a paper.
Six decades ago, the then East Pakistan government acquired 1854 acres of land at Sahebganj for erecting a sugarcane farm just to run the sugar mill smoothly. Accordingly, government handed over the acquired lands to the then East Pakistan Industrial Development Corporation (EPIDC). After liberation, the organisation was converted into Bangladesh Sugar and Food Industries Corporation (BSFIC).
Since 2016 a section of grabbers continued instigating innocent Santal community to occupy government land on the plea of getting their forefather’s property. They even called Santal families from different areas and occupied around 100 acres of land at Sahebganj cane farm, the paper said.
Since then Santal community started carrying out occasional attacks on farm’s office and workers, looting away properties of the farm and damaging tractors, cranes and other equipment. Even they looted firearms from the ansars deputed in the farm, said the speakers.
In this situation, on November 6 in 2016, local administration and law enforcing agencies in an eviction drive recovered the government properties from illegal occupants.
The Santal community still attacked the workers in the cane fields and lifted fishes from the farm’s ponds on various occasions, said the speakers.