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Industries Minister Amir Hossain Amu on September 9 threatened to cancel the plots for tannery owners unless they relocate their hazardous factories from Hazaribagh in Dhaka to Savar by March next year.
“The government will cancel the plots at Savar Leather Industrial Park and reallocate them to new entrepreneurs, unless the tannery owners complete the relocation by the deadline. ” Many local and foreign companies have expressed interest in setting up factories at the leather estate in Savar, he said. “We would rather consider those proposals. ” The construction of a central effluent treatment plant (CETP), a key component of the project, will be completed by that time, Amu told reporters after holding a meeting with the tannery owners at his office in Dhaka. Tanners should start relocation keeping the issues of environment protection and export potential in mind, said Environment Minister Anwar Hossain. “Bangladesh will lose its leather and footwear market share globally if the tannery owners fail to produce goods by meeting the compliance criterion of the retailers.”
A total of 102 tannery owners have began constructing their factories at Savar Leather Industrial Park, M Abu Taher, chairman of Bangladesh Finished Leather, Leather Goods and Footwear Exporters' Association, told The Daily Star.
“Some 30 companies are expected to complete relocation by March and 75 companies by June.” The industries ministry has already allocated plots on the 200-acre leather estate to 155 tannery owners through BSCIC, a wing of the industries ministry that is implementing the project. The government will provide Tk 250 crore as compensation money to the tannery owners. At the meeting, it was decided that the first installment of the compensation would be paid this month on a pro-rata basis to those tannery owners who began construction in full swing, the ministry said in a statement. The leather industry has set records for exports that rose 32.1% year-on-year to $1.29 billion in fiscal 2013-14, according to data from the Export Promotion Bureau.
ILM understands from local sources that the CEPT is still some way off completion and that the March 2015 may be unachievable. Also, the relocation process may take longer than the local authorities would like.