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Thakurgaon Sugar Mills upgrade remains a distant dream

  • Published at 05:06 pm October 11th, 2018
Thakurgaon-Sugar-Mill-UNB
File photo of Thakurgaon Sugar Mill UNB

BSFIC sources said two tenders were floated in September and November 2017, to appoint a contractor, but no progress was made

The Thakurgaon Sugar Mills upgrade remains outstanding despite five years having elapsed since the approval of the development project.

One of the reasons for this is complications with appointing a construction firm for the project, according to sources at the sugar mill, which stands five kilometers from the district town.

Bangladesh Sugar and Food Industries Corporation (BSFIC), under the Ministry of Industries, was supposed to see the project through, at a cost of Tk101.5 crore, by June 2016, Engineer SM Abdur Rashid, director of the project, told UNB.

The project was approved by the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec), in the 2013-2014 fiscal year, with the aim of boosting the production capacity of the mill.

Later, the deadline of the project was extended by two years—till June 2018.

At the beginning of the current fiscal year, the project was extended by another year, for the third time this extended its estimated completion time to June 2019 and increased the cost of the project from Tk101.54 crore to Tk411.10 crore.

BSFIC sources said two tenders were floated in September and November 2017, to appoint a contractor, but no progress was made.

BSFIC intended to upgrade the factory's capacity using machinery from a European country, instead of India or China, but there has been no response since the tenders were floated.

The project aimed to enable the production of a refined variety of sugar—alongside the normal product. The mill was to be turned into a profitable company through diversification, including the  production of: beet sugar, rectified spirit, biogas, and bio-compost.

The project also involved power generation from renewable energy, through co-generation, in order to supply the national grid after meeting the mill’s demands.

Ramesh Chandra Sen, MP of the Thakurgaon 1 constituency, said, "Once the project is implemented, the income of the mill will rise substantially."

Set up in 1958, Thakurgaon Sugar Mills is now in a dismal state due to widespread mismanagement.