The Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation's (BSCIC) industrial city in Barishal is yet to utilise its full potential due to a lack of infrastructural facilities.
Currently its production volume and employment generation are just half of what it was estimated to be capable of, according to BSCIC officials and industrialists.
Against this backdrop, they called for speedy initiatives to develop the infrastructure to create a "model industrial city".
Established in 1960, it is the largest industrial city in Bangladesh, covering 130.31 acres of land in Barishal's Kawnia area.
And from the very beginning, the infrastructure facilities present at the estate were not that good, they said.
Even the roads are very narrow and dilapidated while a lack of streetlights drastically reduces visibility after dark, making movement risky.
Due to these reasons, only a few companies have gone into production since 2000, said Jahirul Islam, an official of the BSCIC.
There are no more than 12 or 14 active manufacturing facilities, utilising around 150 of the 470 plots available in the area and employing about 8,000 people.
Most of the companies active in the industrial city are trading based.
Besides, companies that had taken at least 10 to 12 plots have completely ceased activities.
"However, if the infrastructure facilities are developed, production and employment would at least double," Islam said.
Over Tk 650 core has been invested in this BSCIC area and if the infrastructure was developed, it would be possible to allot 100 more plots, he added.
Mizanur Rahman, chairman of Fortune Shoes, said when it rains at the industrial city, the ground sinks and this leads to accidents.
"No one wants to come here while the production environment is totally hampered due to poor infrastructure facilities. So we want speedy implementation of the ongoing infrastructure development projects," Rahman added.
Development work worth Tk 71.5 crore started in the area last October. This includes betterment of the roads, boundary walls and lighting facilities.
According to the BSCIC authorities, almost all the commercial activities in the area have come to a standstill due to issues raised by the city corporation.
"Meanwhile, filling of 37 acres of low-lying land has been stopped by Barishal City Corporation (BCC)," said Md Jalish Mahmud, deputy general manager of the BSCIC.
However, BCC Mayor Serniabat Sadik Abdullah told journalists that they did not order the BSCIC to stop development works.
"We ordered them to not fill low lands (extracting earth from rivers) using dredger machines as it is totally illegal and some industrialists already grabbed some road side land. So, we ordered them to return land they grabbed," Abdullah said.
After visiting the area, it was found that all development works had been put on halt.
BSCIC's Mahmud said if all the development works were not completed by June next year, the allocated money would be returned.