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The government intends to complete the relocation of the hazardous tanneries from Hazaribagh to Savar by 2016, now that the dispute over who would bear the lion’s share of the project cost has finally been resolved.
“I hope the tanneries will now speed up the relocation process,” Industries Minister Dilip Barua told reporters in Dhaka on August 18. “The delay has not only been affecting the city’s environment, it is also threatening the country’s leather and leather goods sector,” he said, while citing the European Union’s, the leading destination of the country’s leather exports, threat to stop buying Bangladeshi products beyond 2014. The project, which took off in 2003 ran into a dead end over who would bare the lion’s share of the costs and be given the central effluent treatment plant (CETP) contract. Initially, it was planned that the 155 tanneries would finance 60% of the costs and the government the rest Last week, it has been decided that the government would bear 80 percent of the core project cost. The figure includes compensation to the tanneries, also to be paid by the government. “We will set up the entire infrastructure including the CETP within the next 18 months,” Barua said. The factory owners will now have to pay only in installments, according to the industries minister. The relocation of the tanneries, however, still remains uncertain as the factory owners are yet to sign the memorandum of understanding with the government, due to their discontent with the allotment costs.
“This is not acceptable as the higher charges will increase our relocation costs significantly,” Belal Hossain, chairman of Bangladesh Finished Leather, Leather Goods and Footwear Exporters’ Association, told The Daily Star. The industries ministry, however, has already allocated more than 205 plots on 200 acres of land to the 155 tanneries. About 21,600 cubic metres of environmentally hazardous waste, including chromium, sulphides and ammonium, is emitted daily from the tanneries without treatment, according to the Department of Environment. The sector’s exports in fiscal 2012-13 stood at US$980.67 million, up 28.2% from the previous year, according to data from Export Promotion Bureau.
Source: Daily Starcomments powered by Disqus