Tanners get 7 more days to take hides
Tanners can bring in rawhides and skins to their factories of Hazaribagh until April 10, as a government wing yesterday relaxed a directive banning rawhides to the tanneries there.
“We have talked to the industries minister and he has agreed to allow the entry of rawhides in Hazaribagh for seven more days,” said Md Hazrat Ali, chairman of Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC), a wing of the industries ministry that is implementing the tannery relocation project.
Rawhides would not be allowed into Hazaribagh from March 11, he warned addressing a press briefing at the BSCIC headquarters in Motijheel.
It is best for tannery owners to move their factories from Hazaribagh to Savar Tannery Industrial Estate, he said.
Only one tannery has relocated from the capital's Hazaribagh to Savar despite the March 31 deadline. As the deadline expired, the government deployed police on April 1 preventing raw hide supply to the tanneries there.
Referring to recent media reports on inadequate infrastructure, including the central effluent treatment plant (CETP) at Savar, Hazrat Ali claimed that all infrastructural facilities were available in the industrial park. “The BSCIC will ensure all facilities after the tanneries are completely shifted to Savar,” he said.
He said they talked with high officials of utility service providers and they had assured them of readying necessary connections upon requests from tannery owners.
Everyone is talking about utility connections, but no one has applied for gas connections. “How is it a problem when no one has sought gas connections?” he said.
He said not only the CETP, but also the sewage treatment plant, sludge power generation system and solid waste management system were ready for use. “Unless the tanneries move to the industrial estate, the central effluent treatment plant cannot be operated,” he said.
He said Tk 60 crore has already been provided to the tannery owners from a Tk-250-crore compensation package of the government. “The rest will be provided upon compliance of certain conditions,” he said.
Industries Minister Amir Hossain Amu at a programme yesterday morning once again said tannery owners must move their factories and that there was no alternative to tannery relocation.
“We can't allow the leather industries to be there [Hazaribagh] anymore, endangering the lives of crores of people. We can't allow crores of people to die because of them,” he said, while addressing the opening session of a five-day fair on small and medium enterprises.
Criticising some media reports, he said several newspapers once were saying that the government was not taking steps to relocate the tanneries. “Now we have taken measures, but the newspapers are against us saying that we are not prepared for the relocation, and they're now highlighting that rawhides are rotting!” he said.
“I can challenge you that we are in a position to launch 40-60 tanneries right now at Savar. We are ready to provide gas and electricity connections to them as soon as they submit applications,” he added.