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Dhaka Tribune

Mandatory jute packaging deadline extended

Update : 18 Oct 2015, 07:44 PM

The government has extended a deadline, allowing the rice-making sector a few more days to shift from polythene to jute for packaging.

As part of the implementation of the Jute Packaging Act 2010, which makes use of jute mandatory in packaging across businesses, October 25 was the last date for the shift.

However, considering a request from businessmen, who said they were not ready, the government has extended the deadline until the end of November, said Mohammad Kefaetullah, director of the Department of Jute.

The jute packaging act – enacted in 2014 to revive the once leading foreign currency earning sector of the country – considers the rice-making sector, the rice-millers to be specific, as one of the key focus points.

According to the act, paddy, rice, wheat, maze, fertiliser and sugar must be packaged in jute bags. Violators face a maximum of one year in jail or a fine of Tk50,000 or both for using non-degradable synthetics to package commodities.

Kefaetullah said that the government will now go tough against violators; mobile courts have been operating across the country since June 1 and no violation will be excused after the November deadline expires.

He also said that the rice-millers use around 1.4 million sacks every year and if only they could be made to switch to jute packaging, the entire situation would change.

Nirod Baran Saha, convener of the Naogaon Rice Millers’ Association, told the Dhaka Tribune that they also want to use jute packaging.

“But price of rice will go up if we switch to jute sacks instead of polythene. A 50kg jute sack costs Tk30 more than a polythene sack of the same capacity,” he said.

According to the Jute Department, around 750 million jute bags will be used annually and 50% of the jute production would be consumed locally once the packaging act is implemented.

Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC) believes that the sector will regain its lost strength overnight if only 20% of the businesses start using jute bags. 

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