The government had allocated Tk260 crore for 22 jute mills in the country for purchasing raw jute in 2016-2017 fiscal, but with the money disbursed in two phases, the nine mills of the region could purchase 2,27,200 quintal jute in the first two months of the fiscal, whereas they need 10,98,705 quintal jute to run their production, according to Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC).
In the first phase, the mills got around Tk15 crore out of a total of Tk36 crore 30 lakh and in the second phase Tk14 crore 55 lakh out of Tk35 crore disbursed for all the jute mills across the country.
According to BJMC Khulna region, Platinum Jute Mill got Tk3 crore 35 lakh, Crescent Jute Mill Tk2 crore 60 lakh, Star Jute Mill Tk2 crore 25 lakh, Khalishpur Jute Mill Tk1 crore 25 lakh, Eastern Jute Mill Tk1 crore 40 lakh, JJI Jute Mill Tk1 crore 25 lakh, Daulatpur Jute Mill Tk80 lakh, Alim Jute Mill Tk50 lakh and Karpeting Jute Mill got Tk 50 lakh.
Khalilur Rahman, Collective Bargaining Agent (CBA) general secretary of Platinum Jute Mill, said this amount was not sufficient. The mills of the region still need Tk60 crore for purchasing raw jute, he claimed.
“If the required amount was disbursed right now, the mills could have purchased raw jute in fair price, as this is the peak season for buying jute,” he opined.
The mills cannot reach their production targets due to the lack of raw jute, he comments. In Platinum Jute Mill, the daily production target is 70 tons, whereas, it produces only 40 to 42 tons for want of raw jute, according to the labour leader.
Mahtab Ali, BJMC Khulna region official, said the allocated money for the mills would be disbursed in phases, as there were some procedures.
Chairman of BJMC Dr Md Mahmudul Hasan arrived Khulna on Thursday to visit the jute mills. He held meetings with the jute mills’ projects’ heads on Friday and was supposed to visit the jute mills in Jessore on Saturday, said Mahtab.
Shah Alam, a jute mill worker, said: “Though the visit of the BJMC chairman is encouraging, frustration is prevailing among the workers, as they are not paid wages on regular basis.”