State-run Khulna Hard Board Mill in limbo
Valuable machinery and hardboard stocks worth Tk 2 crore have been lying idle at state-owned Khulna Hard Board Mill (KHBM) in the district since its abrupt shutdown on November 25, 2013 for lack of capital to operate it.
The mill owes electricity bills of Tk 39 lakh to the local power supplier. Although the factory has been out of production, the KHBM authorities are counting a huge maintenance cost every month.
The unused machines are wearing out due to negligence while the unsold hardboard stocks are getting damaged in its storehouse for rainwater seepage.
Despite repeated requests made to the Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation (BCIC), the reopening of the mill is being delayed because of not getting industries ministry's permission, KHBM Manager Mamunur Rashid said.
The increasing furnace oil price and labourers' wages simultaneously have increased the production overheads so much that the factory authorities have become unable to afford it further, he added.
Hardboard alternatives which are available in the market at a cheaper price have replaced the KHBM's products.
Mamunur Rashid added that a portion of the total electricity bill has been paid off but no decision about the remaining amount has been taken as the operation is closed now.
He said advertisements have been published to sell off the unused machinery and old hardboard stock.
Khulna Hard Board Mill was set up in 1965 on the Bhairab River bank on over 9.96 acres of land. It started production one year later with an initial production target of 3 crore sq foot of hardboard per year.
However, problems started looming in 2002 and the mill was shut down after laying its workers off. Then in 2005, it was re-started only to be closed down again in 2011 for a lack of funds.
The mill reopened in August 2013 but could sustain only for three months before winding up in November 2013. Around 200 employees used to work in the mill before it was shut down in 2013.