State-Owned Mills’ Shutdown: Jute workers in Khulna prepare for movement | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 29, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, June 29, 2020

State-Owned Mills’ Shutdown: Jute workers in Khulna prepare for movement

Workers of the nine state-owned jute mills in the Khulna region are preparing for an organised movement to protest the decision to hand all state-owned jute mills over to public private partnership.

As part of the movement, they will stage demonstrations, rallies and even fast-unto-death programme, said the workers.

They were speaking at a press conference at Jute Institute in Khulna city's Chitrali area yesterday.

On Thursday and Saturday, a workers' meeting was held at the respective mill gate where everyone was asked to get ready for movements.

Their leaders alleged that a section of corrupt officials at Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC) created such a precarious situation in jute sector. If those are removed and necessary allocation for the sector is ensured, jute will get its golden days again, they said.

At the press conference, jute leaders said the mills will be profitable only when they are modernised. Although the demand for jute is increasing all over the world, Bangladesh's jute products are not being exported due to poor marketing system of BJMC, they said.

They said they do not want golden handshake rather the money should be spent for the sector's betterment.

Khalilur Rahman, former CBA president of Khulna Platinum Jute Mill, said jute mills are being shut down due to losses triggered by corruption, mismanagement and policy making by the officials.

He said if raw jute is bought during its peak season and the products are sold properly, the mills will see 100 percent profit.

Sardar Abdul Hamid, convener of Bangladesh Jute Workers Protection CBA and Non-CBA Sangram Committee, said if the state-owned jute mills are handed over those will be closed gradually. The farmers will also suffer, he added.

According to BJMC's Khulna Regional Office, there are nine state-owned jute mills in the Khulna region -- seven in Khulna and two in Jashore -- where 8,100 permanent workers work. Besides, there are about 30,000 temporary workers.

Md Boniz Uddin Miah, coordinator of BJMC Khulna regional office, said the government took the decision on June 25.

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