Light engineering in limelight
It was an atypical exposition.
The fair was a get-together of enthusiasts and dream entrepreneurs, who came to showcase their domestic innovations.
Entrepreneurs were least interested in demanding aid from the government or foreign donors. All they want is government policy support to boost growth of the light engineering sector.
Products showcased included locally produced, battery-run cars, concrete mixture machines, paint mixture machines, pharmaceutical packaging machines, automated teller machine frames, garment machinery and machinery for rice mills and power looms.
The prices of these products were also far less than their imported counterparts, said participants of the four-day fair -- Bangladesh International Industrial and Engineering Technology Tradeshow 2010, the first ever show of its kind.
The fair co-organised by Bangladesh Engineering Industry Owners' Association (BEIOA) and ASK Trade and Exhibition Ltd, an Indian company, started at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre yesterday.
Rahim Engineering Workshop, a Bagura-based light engineering company, come to the fair with its own innovation -- Bangla Car, a battery-run car with a capacity of 60 kilometres per hour.
Mohammad Harun-or-Rashid Raju, chairman of the company, said they started car manufacture in 2006. The reason behind delayed work was the unavailability of parts.
“The car will produce energy for itself by its heat, which will be generated while running the rechargeable battery engine,” he said. “It will consume less energy and be completely environment friendly.”
Local entrepreneurs also produced manual knife valves, essentially used in paper mills, to control the flow of pulp.
Abdul Hakim Miah, owner of HT Engineering Works, said his company has been manufacturing the manual knife valve for the last 17 years. Demand for his products by local paper mills has remained steady. Prices of his products start from Tk 1,500 per inch.
There are various new innovations that mainly cater to the garment industry and real estate.
Entrepreneurs also displayed machinery to make ballpoint pens, furniture, bakery equipment, flourmills, CD and DVD covers, plastic baskets and carriers.
A total of 110 participants, including 23 overseas companies from India, China, Hong Kong, UK and Germany, are showcasing their products and services at the fair.
Bangladesh's light engineering sector has flourished from almost nothing to a multi-crore taka business since independence in 1971. The sector's development mainly came about at an informal cottage status.
The sector mainly involves three kinds of works -- making complete machinery, producing spare parts and repairing old machines. The sector also undertakes maintenance work of different machineries.
There are currently around 40,000 small-scale light engineering enterprises across the country, which directly involves six lakh people, according to Board of Investment statistics.
The sector manufactures around 10,000 types of items worth $120 million a year for local industries.
Abdur Razzaque, president of BEIOA, said the sector only needs government support to develop an industrial park and help upgrade technology.
“We do not need aid from the government or foreign donors. If the government gives policy support, the sector will show how it can change the country's economic status."
Dilip Barua, industries minister, also responded to the demands of the sector and said the government is making a new industrial policy, which will support small and medium enterprises, including the light engineering sector.