Tannery Workers Union leaders yesterday demanded that the government take immediate measures to urbanise the Tannery Industrial Estate in Savar to create a worker-friendly environment.
During the Union's office inauguration programme in the Estate, its general secretary Abdul Maleque said the Tannery Industrial Estate is established in an area of 200 acres in Horindhara.
In last two years, almost all the 154 tannery factories shifted from Hazaribagh in the capital to Horindhara in Savar, outside the capital, following government orders, although the area was not fully developed to house all the factories and its workers.
Some 30,000 workers are working in the Estate while most of them still have to reside in Hazaribagh as there is no good housing facility or school in Horindhara.
Besides, there is no street light, no proper drainage system which frequently cause water-logging even in light rains, and not even any permanent solid waste dumping station in the area while the roads are in a sorry state.
The workers have to count some Tk 100 to 120 per day as travelling cost while on the other hand the daily long journey is making them exhausted day by day, said Maleque, demanding that the government should build residential quarters, a school, and a mosque in the area.
The workers have to struggle to support their families with the daily expenditure and little income, said Abul Kalam Azad, chairman of the Union.
He also demanded a monthly interim allowance of Tk 3,000 for the workers, a separate wage board for tannery workers, while a stop on random job termination of workers.
Shaheen Ahmed, chairman of Bangladesh Tanners' Association, said they were dumping solid wastes in a temporary dumping station at the site.
Unbearable odour from the open dumping site always grips the area which is harmful for the workers, he added.
Moreover, the central effluent treatment plant (CETP) is yet to start in the Estate. As a result, the Dhaleshwari river is being polluted with the liquid waste of the factories.
Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh, lawmaker of Dhaka-10 constituency, who was present at the event, said construction of the CETP will complete within June 2018.
The government is working to address the other issues as well, he added.
Representatives of Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC) and thousands of tannery workers were also present at the event.