With some Tk 1,000 million (100 crore) loan and nearly 6,000 metric tonnes of unsold sugar, the crushing season for the current season of the Rajshahi Sugar Mills (RSM) starts late this month. In this situation, the authorities of RSM are incurring loss.
Meanwhile, the employees and labourers of the mills are regularly holding various programmes, including human chain and sit in programme, in front of the mills gate to met their demand– repayment of arrear salaries.
Abu Baker Siddique, General Secretary of Rajshahi Sugar Mills Shramik- Karmachari Union, said they would not join the work until their outstanding salaries are paid.
The authorities of RSM are trying their best to sell the stocks of sugar at the mills. Though the sugar produced at the mills is superior in quality, it looks a bit granular and seems not refined properly than that of low –quality, less sweet, chemically processed white sugar imported or made in privately owned sugar mills of the country.
As a result, despite being superior in quality, people like to purchase those low quality white, imported sugar and due to low demand, so huge quantity of sugar at Rajshahi Sugar Mills remained unsold.
Ashfaqur Rahman, Managing Director of RSM, said though the mills is facing debt, the authorities of the mills always try to pay salaries of the staff from the fund procured after selling sugar. But, there was only small amount of sugar sold after the Eid-ul-Fitr.
As a result, there was a stock of some 6,000 tonnes of unsold sugar at the stores and 834 staff of the mills were suffering due to non-payment of their salaries for two months.
Ashfaqur Rahman further said imported sugar at the local market is being sold at Tk 42 per kilogramme whereas the rate of sugar at mill gate is Tk 50 per kilogramme and the authorities of RSM won’t be able to sell the sugar below Tk 50. As a result, traders were reluctant to purchase sugar from mills. Due to non selling of sugar the labourers were suffering from two months outstanding salaries of Tk 26 million (Tk two crore sixty lakh).
Sarker Shariful Islam, Rajshahi