Modern machinery and technology in government-owned jute mills can turn the sector profitable and can solve ongoing problems of the beleaguered workers, said leaders of Sramik Kormochari Oikya Parishad.
Leaders of the Parishad at a press briefing at Dhaka Reporters Unity yesterday also said enhancing skills of workers and reforming the current organogram of the Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC) are also important to ensure proper benefit of the reform.
“Currently 10,835 century-old handlooms (hessian, shaking and CBC) are operational in 22 factories under BJMC. Yearly production capacity of the three types of handlooms are 73 tonnes, but these older machines can produce only half of their capacity,” said Shahidullah Chowdhury, president of Bangladesh Trade Union Kendra.
By using automatic [low-cost Chinese] machines, it is possible to significantly increase productivity, said Shahidullah.
He said if the government does not go for modernisation, it will not be possible to save this sector.
This reform work will have to be done in phases, keeping scope for workers to continue production, said Fazlul Haque Montu, joint coordinator of the Parishad.
He said it is possible to get the same production from 3,000 Chinese automatic machines, replacing 6,232 old hessian handlooms.
Tk 1,000 crore would be needed to replace the hessian handlooms in the first phase, he added.
It is also possible to secure Tk 45 crore profit from Lotif Bawani Jute Mill after paying workers -- following the recommendations of Wage Board-2015 -- through increasing its production capacity, said Montu.
Among others, General Secretary of Jatiya Sramik League AKM Ajam Khosru spoke at the press conference.