Following the government decision to snap utility connections to the tannery factories at Hazaribagh on April 8, the country’s tannery industry has incurred losses worth BDT26.87 billion so far. Cancellation of export orders has already exceeded BDT15 billion.
In the press meet organized by the Chaamra Shilpa Rakkha Oikya Parishad, the speakers presented the above-mentioned data. The event took place in the Dhaka Reporters’ Unity (DRU) in the Segunbagicha of the capital on May 5. Bangladesh Tanners’ Association (BTA) chairman Shahin Ahmed, co-chairman and Bangladesh Finished Leather, Leather Goods, and Footwear Exporters’ Association chairman Mohiuddin Ahmed Mahin, Tannery Workers Union chairman Abul Kalam Azad, BTA secretary Mohammad Sakhawat Ullah, Bangladesh Finished Leather, Leather Goods, and Footwear Exporters (BFLFEA) senior cochairman Diljahan Bhuiyan, and Bangladesh Meat Traders Association president Mohammad Rabiul Alam were present at the press conference.
The speakers said that although the government has decided to shut down the tanneries in Hazaribagh in order to relocate them to Savar, Savar is not ready yet for operation. They claimed that Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC) gave incorrect information to the High Court Division that the tannery park was ready-to-go at Savar for relocation of the tannery factories. The production was supposed to be resumed 15 days within the relocation, which could not be possible either. The speakers presented documents and photographic evidences following the court order to resume production within 15 days. They claimed that only 9 tanneries have got gas connections in Savar so far, while 143 have no utility connections at all.
They also said that the BSCIC had submitted false information to the court saying that the Central Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) at all the factories in Savar is ready while in reality, only 50 of 154 tanneries have the CETP facility. Alongside, the con- Unlocking a Deadlock The tannery owners are threatening with countrywide protests if their 9-point demands are not met and the relocation of their factories from Hazaribagh to Savar is not smooth struction work of dumping yard, 3 chrome recovery units (UPS-1, UPS- 2, and UPS-3), and large power generator system component have not been finished yet. BFLLFEA president Mohiuddin Mahmud Mahin said, “Since April 8, the tannery factory owners incurred losses worth BDT12.37 billion, commercial exporters incurred losses worth BDT10.11 billion, Bangladesh Hide, and Merchant Association worth BDT1.43 billion, Leather Goods, and Manufacturers Association BDT900 million, Leather Chemical Trades Association BDT650 million and split leather traders BDT530 million.”
Bangladesh Tanners’ Association chairman, Shaheen Ahmed, said, “BSCIC did not follow the court order. We are left with no other option to take BSCIC to the court. The reality is, our 9-point demands have not been met either. We will meet the industry minister soon to present our demands and find out some future resolution. We will meet the prime minister as well.” Tannery Workers’ Union chairman Abul Kalam Azad said, “The future of this industry depends on the 9-point demands. Hazaribagh has been shut down, but Savar is not ready yet. The workers are facing the most loss due to this situation. There are concerns over the future of their employment. So, in order to keep this industry alive, the government should accept our demands. Our movement will not stay within the capital either, it will be spread amongst all the businessmen and owners associated with tannery business countrywide.”
The tanners’ demands included immediate gas and electricity connections to the leather factories inside the Savar Tannery Estate, giving plots to those who have not got plots yet in the Estate, quick completion of ownership deed registration of the plots, withdrawal of embargo on passing design plan on the tanners’ land in Hazaribagh and immediate completion of the relocation process to Savar providing all facilities and revealing “truth” to the people against false information furnished by BSCIC.