Home Leather & Footwear Government, tanners both at fault: Relocation of Tannery Units

Government, tanners both at fault: Relocation of Tannery Units

The much-debated relocation of tannery units from Dhaka’s Hazaribagh area to the newly-built Savar Leather Park lacks commitment from both the sides – the government and the tanners. During a visit to the estate yesterday, it was found that the authorities have not completed the ground work while not a single tannery unit is ready to go into production. But the government has already stopped supply of rawhide to Hazaribagh by deploying police at the entry points. As per the agreement, the government was supposed to establish a Central Effluent Treatment plant (CETP) at the industrial park to ensure that the liquid waste to be discharged by the tanners is treated before flowing into the nearby river. But during the visit, it was seen that only two units out of 20 of the CETP have been completed but they are not ready to operate now. Construction of another unit is completed but the machinery has not been not installed yet. Above all, the CETP construction work has remained suspended since March 16 due to fund shortage. Construction of the sewerage line that will carry waste water into the CETP has also been sluggish. Md Hazrat Ali, chairman of Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (Bscic), claimed that the sewerage line and two units of the CETP were ready to operate. From a press conference yesterday, he said that the tanners would get be allowed one more week to bring rawhide to Hazaribagh. The owners would not get more time after April 10. The authorities have given water and electricity connections but are yet to ensure gas connection at the leather estate. On the other hand, none of the tanners have completed construction of their factories. Only few factories have set up machinery but they are not in a position to go into production. Under the circumstances, the government has deployed police at the city’s entry points to prevent rawhide-laden trucks from entering Hazaribagh as the deadline for shifting the tannery units to Savar ended on March 31. Meanwhile, Industries Minister Amir Hossain Amu has claimed that the two units of the CETP were able to treat the waste of 40-60 factories. While inaugurating the SME Fair in the city yesterday, the minister again warned the tanners of strict action if they did not relocate the units immediately. “The government will not allow any dillydally over the shifting process.” About non-availability gas connection, Amu claimed that they were ready to give gas connection. “But no one has applied for gas connection,” he added. The government decided to transfer the tanneries from Hazaribagh amid pressure from local and international rights groups and environmental activists, and buyers because of their hazardous effects on public health and environment, especially the Buriganga River. It has allocated plots to 155 tannery owners at the industrial park established on a 200-acre land. During the visit yesterday, it was also found that only two factories – Apex Tanneries and Reliance Tannery – had their machinery installed while three to four others have brought their machinery to their factories. Construction of the most of the establishments is under way. “We can start processing the rawhides now, but the CETP is not ready yet,” Shafiqul Islam, an official of Apex Tannery, told the Dhaka Tribune. Earlier, Shaheen Ahmed, chairman of Bangladesh Tanners’ Association, said that the relocation would be completed by June this year. The government in January issued legal notices to 113 factories at Hazaribagh for delaying in shifting their factories. Meanwhile, construction of the CETP has remained suspended as the main contractor did not release any money for the sub-contract firm Zakir Enterprise after March 16. “The construction is stopped due to shortage of funds,” said Faisal, a worker of firm. “If the construction work resumes in full-swing, it will take at least six more months to complete the CETP,” he added.