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State Of Savar Tannery Estate-Last Part

Full-scale production still a far cry

Published : Thursday, 5 September, 2019 at 12:00 AM  Count : 761

Leather merchants have relocated 151 tanneries to Savar Tannery Park from their Hazaribagh premises but only 50 of them have so far started processing blue wet leather in a limited scale.
The 16-year old project is still far behind schedule of achieving the goals to come into full scale production, though tannery owners have at least shifted their facilities over the past two years after much persuasion.
But as far as going into full production is concerned many of the tannery owners are dillydallying on different pretexts including slow progress in utility service connections, shortage of capital and pressing the government to fulfill their other demands.
Inordinate delay in full installation of the central effluent treatment plant is also delaying many to start rawhide processing and other production activities.
Meanwhile, rawhide waste management and  environmental pollution is emerging as the biggest problem. River Dhaleswari is facing the biggest threats of water pollution and extermination of aquatic life. Atmospheric stench in and around is making the locality uninhabitable, according to the residents of the industrial estate.     
Industries Secretary MA Halim said a total 148 factory owners have applied for permanent power connections from Palli Biddut Sammity (Rural Electricity Board). Over 130 factories have so far got power connections.   
He said water connections have been provided to 114 and gas connections to 82 tanneries. A visit to the spot showed that most factories in the industrial estate are not ready to go into production. Many of them are still erecting the factory buildings and waiting for utility supply connections.
He said, "We are giving all support to factory owners and even working on public holidays. But tannery owners are going very slowly to complete their infrastructures."
The government has relocated the Hazaribagh tanneries to Savar to save the environment and public health. But the setback to set up the CETP is causing the biggest problem.
For relocating, tannery owners were given incentives in many ways like rescheduling bank loans, issuing new loans even to defaulters. But the entire package lacks support for workers who were to move out to Savar new industrial estate. 
Engr M Abu Taher, Chairman of Bangladesh Finished Leather, Leather goods, and Footwear Exporters Association however complaint banks are not giving loans to the tannery owners even in exchange for land mortgage. He urged the government to take up effective policy in this regard.
"We are not getting bank loans as well as compensation, which was promised by BSCIC for shifting our units," he alleged.  
The government has allocated industrial plots to 155 tannery owners through BSCIC at the Leather Industrial Park set up on a 200-acre land. Local workers said no minimum facilities have been provided for them.
Although tannery owners were paid compensation for the transfer, but housing, hospital, canteens, mosque for the labours or schools and day care centers for the children or even the union (CBA) offices are yet to be built. Workers have been forced to live in cramped dormitories.
The government has decided to move the tanneries from Hazaribagh to Savar amid pressure from local and international rights groups, environmental activists and buyers, because of the hazardous effects on public health and the environment.
But it appears achieving the goals is still far way.

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