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Industries Minister, Amir Hossain Amu said on January 24 that he expected tanners to relocate from Hazaribagh to Savar as soon as April and he was not accepting any further delays in the process. Whether it will happen according to his wishes remains to be seen.
All tanneries will have to be relocated to Savar Leather Industrial Estate from the toxic tannery hub of Hazaribagh to save the capital city, Dhaka and the river Buriganga from further pollution. "There will be no tanneries at Hazaribagh after the period," said Amu while inaugurating a workshop on 'Leather and Leather Goods at a city hotel on January 24. He urged the tanners to relocate their factories to Savar immediately. Despite repeated reminders and providing facilities, many of the tannery owners are delaying shifting of their units to Savar, said the minister.
The leather estate is being developed at Savar with all modern facilities including the Central Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP), where all forms of tannery wastes are to be treated to help develop the industry-environment friendly. “It has become inevitable to remove the tanneries from Hazaribagh to save the environment as well as for development of the industry itself," said the minister, who also said that it is possible to move the tanneries at Savar leather estate within the stipulated time. The initial deadline for relocation of the more than 60-year old tanneries from Hazaribagh to Savar Leather Estate was June 2004, which was extended to December 2005 and subsequently postponed in December 2010 due to a number of reasons. These included, among others, establishment of CETP, compensation for tanners and fund constraints. The government reset the new deadline until April this year for relocation of tanneries.