GAIBANDHA, Jan 10: No fertiliser factory was set up in the northern region by any government even after 43 years of independence although this region produces huge food grains and meets food demand of other parts of the country.
For want of a fertiliser factory in the region, the dealers assigned by Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation (BCIC) have been facing untold sufferings for long in carrying fertiliser from factories located in the southern parts.
According to sources, a total of 67.27 lakh metric tons of rice and wheat are produced in eight northern districts -- Dinajpur, Thakurgaon, Panchagarh, Nilphamari, Rangpur, Lalmonirhat, Kurigram and Gaibandha under Rangpur division every year.
Besides, over 30.84 lakh tonnes of potato, 6.95 lakh tonnes of maize and 8.74 lakh tonnes of vegetables are also produced in the division per year side by side other crops like mustard, sweet potato, groundnut, pulse are also produced.
One fourth of the total production of the food grains of the country are produced in the division every year, but no importance was given to set up a fertiliser factory in the division at the greater interest of the farmers and to mitigate the sufferings of the dealers.
About 50 per cent of food grains become surplus in the division, and these are sent to other parts of the country, particularly Dhaka and Chittagong and the southern region to meet demands there, said an official of Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE).
Sudev Kumar Chowdhury, general secretary of Bangladesh Fertiliser Association, Panchagarh district unit, said "Every year, we are to suffer a lot and to spend huge money to carry the fertiliser from the factories of Jamalpur, Narshingdi and Chittagong to northern districts."
Shahjada Anwarul Quadir, former president of Gaibandha Chamber of Commerce and Industry said it is a matter of sorrow that no fertiliser factory was established in the northern region despite connecting Sirajganj with the gas line in 1997 and Bogra in 2008.
Deputy Director of DAE Mir Abdur Razzak said the northern region is called the crops store of the country, and a fertiliser factory should have been established in the region many years ago at the greater interest of the farmers.
Former chairman of BCIC Engineer Monowar Hossain Chowdhury said no further fertiliser factory was set up in the country since the establishment of Jamuna Fertiliser Factory in Jamalpur in 1992 though it had a clear decision of the government to set up such factory in the country after every 10 years.
So, it should be wise and perfect to set up a fertiliser factory at greater Rangpur to make fertiliser available to the farmers at fair price and to gear up the agriculture-based economy of the newly formed Rangpur division and its adjoining areas, he added.
The people from all walks of life of the greater Rangpur urged the government to take initiative in this regard to set up a fertiliser factory in the northern region as early as possible to mitigate the sufferings of the assigned dealers.