Poor infrastructure failing Tangail BSCIC estate
The Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation's (BSCIC) industrial estate in Tangail has long been gripped by a myriad of troubles, including poor roads and drainage system, according to industry operators.
Besides, the industrial area is not getting a smooth electricity supply while an unapproved kitchen market that occupies two plots remains an issue of conflict among BSCIC authorities, locals and traders.
Industry operators are demanding the market be removed for security reasons while traders and locals want to keep it where it is.
The kitchen market is a security risk as there is no boundary wall to separate it from the industrial area, they said.
However, BSCIC officials say they cannot remove the market for being barred by locals, including public representatives.
The BSCIC estate, established on 23 acres of land in the Taratia area of Tangail sadar upazila, was inaugurated on June 5, 1986.
Currently, 65 units covering 130 plots collectively are operating in the industrial area while the remaining two plots on the east side have long been occupied by the kitchen market.
According to the Tangail sadar upazila parishad, establishment of the kitchen market was never approved.
The two plots were allocated to Masud Enterprise in 1999 but the BSCIC authorities could not remove the kitchen market in the last 23 years.
During a recent visit, it was found that not only are the roads and drains in poor condition, but waste is openly dumped inside the industrial area.
In addition, the lack of boundary walls in certain places allows just about anyone to enter and exit the premises freely.
Moreover, the untreated waste that is too toxic for dumping on roads are poured into the nearby Louhajang river, polluting its water badly.
Industry operators also informed that traders from the illegal kitchen market organise a weekly market each Sunday, when they sit with their goods inside the main industrial area.
"The market was here before the BSCIC industrial area was set up so if it is removed, many people will become unemployed while locals will have to travel several kilometres for buying necessities," said Mobarak Hossain, president of the Taratia Bazar Committee.
"So, locals have urged the authorities concerned not to remove the kitchen market," he added.
Khalekuzzaman Chowdhury Maznu, chairman of Karatia union parishad, said they have applied to the district administration to keep the market there permanently considering the interest of locals.
Shahjahan Ansary, chairman of the Tangail sadar upazila parishad, said the kitchen market was established during the Pakistan period.
Local people and also people from nearby towns come to the market to buy various necessities at cheaper costs compared to other markets.
"So, we want to keep it there," he added.
On the other hand, Abul Mansur, president of the factory owners' association in the BSCIC industrial area, said the illegal market causes security concerns for them as people can easily move through the market into factory areas.
"The authorities should immediately remove the illegal market and block the area with a boundary wall for the sake of security," he added.
Mansur went on to say that roads inside the industrial estate have long been damaged while the poor drainage system allows water to remain stagnant during times of rain.
Asked about the matter, Jamil Hossain, an official of the Tangail BSCIC, said they have already written to the higher authorities to implement development projects for the battered roads and drainage system in the industrial area.
"A five-year plan was also sent," he added.
Hossain then said they have long been urging the district administration to evict the illegal kitchen market, but to no avail.
Dr Ataul Gani, deputy commissioner of Tangail, said a decision was previously taken to remove the kitchen market from the BSCIC plots.
However, it was ultimately not possible due to different unavoidable reasons, including the coronavirus pandemic.
"An initiative will be taken again to evict it as soon as possible," he added.