• Thursday, Dec 02, 2021
  • Last Update : 12:45 am

Chemical Industrial Park to come into operation in 2021

  • Published at 01:16 am September 9th, 2019
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Moving the chemical factories and warehouses out of Dhaka was recommended by the Home Ministry after the 2010 Nimtoli Tragedy Mehedi Hasan

Once in operation, some 50-60,000 people will be directly employed there

The establishment of the Chemical Industrial Park, a dedicated area to store all chemical warehouses and factories, is expected to come into reality by 2021.

Once established, it will shift several thousand warehouses currently in operation in the old part of Dhaka which are illegally storing highly combustible chemical compounds in the densely populated areas, putting people's lives at risk. 

Although the Bangladesh Environment Conservation Rules 1997 does not permit operation of any factories in and around residential areas, the warehouses are in operation in Armanitola, Babu Bazar, Mitford, Shahidnagar, Islambagh and Chawkbazar and are mostly housed in residential buildings.

The formation of the chemical village was planned nine years ago after a total of 124 people were killed and scores injured in a fire that was ignited at a chemical store at Nabab Katra in Nimtoli on June 3, 2010.

Moving the chemical factories and warehouses out of Dhaka was one of the 17 recommendations by the Home Ministry committee formed after the Nimtoli tragedy.

But, after the death of at least 71 people from a massive fire at Chawkbazar in February this year, the top government officials assured that they will work on the relocation plan as high priority and the factories will be moved to the Chemical Park soon.

Problems with land acquisition and bureaucratic complexities took so much time for the authorities to implement the plan, but it will now move faster, said the officials.

Officials at Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC) said they are expecting to complete the chemical industrial park within one and a half years once the land acquisition is complete.

Although the dedicated park was earlier planned at Keraniganj, in the outskirts of Dhaka, the authorities are now working on to set it up on a stretch of 310 acres land in the Sirajdikhan upazila of the Munshiganj district.

“The project will cost Tk1615 crore and will be complete in between 2020-2021. We have already paid Tk100 crore to the deputy commissioner of Munshiganj, and another Tk900 crore will be paid shortly for land acquisition,” BSCIC Director Ataur Rahman Siddique told Dhaka Tribune. 

As part of the plan, two or three committees will visit China, Japan, Korea or Germany to gather experience on how to build a chemical industrial park following international standards, he said.

Huge employment opportunity

Once it is in operation, some 50,000 to 60,000 people will be directly employed, which, in turn will indirectly benefit over a million people in the area.

Project Director Saiful Alam said they sent a letter to the land ministry on August 8 seeking approval. Once approved by the Prime Minister’s Office, it will be sent to the Munshiganj DC office to hand over the land to BSCIC.

The Chemical Park will house an eight-story building, chemical research center, police station, fire brigade office, mosque, medicine center, association or corporate office and other essential facilities. 

The authorities are planning to provide modern facilities including a central treatment plant (CTP) for recycling waste for purification, said the project director. 

Project document shows the Chemical Park will have 25,000 industrial plots, but primarily 2154 plots will be allocated among entrepreneurs and business owners.  

There will be three-category plots. Of those, 1208 plots will be under category A (4,500sqft), 904 under category-B (350sqft) and rest of the plots will be under category-S, according to the project documents. Each decimal of land will cost Tk5 lakh. 

An entrepreneur too will be able to avail the mortgage facility from a bank if the BSCIC issues a ‘no objection certificate’, the Project Director said.

According to an estimate by the Bangladesh Poribesh Andolan, there are about 25,000 warehouses of chemical products in nearly 15,000 residential buildings in the old part of Dhaka, although the city corporation had issued licences for only 2,500.

How businesses react to the plan

Bangladesh Paints, Dyes and Chemical Merchants' Association General Secretary Kamal Ahmed claimed the government told them to set up godown or warehouses at new Chemical Park, but corporate offices will remain in the old place. 

“But now we have been informed that everything have to be shifted, which is a breach of what we were told earlier,” he said.

We need the corporate office in Dhaka to deal with clients and foreign investors, he said.

“However, if there is amicable settlement and facilities to run our business, we will go together to the new place,” he added.

On the other hand, Bangladesh Acid Merchants' Association President Mohammad Ullah Palash said they are failing to renew their trade license which is barring their day-to-day business operation. 

Two years ago, the city corporation said they will neither issue nor renew trade licenses for chemical factories in Old Dhaka that use flammable materials.

“We are fully prepared to relocate to new Chemical Park in the Sirjadkhan Upazilla. But the issue of trade license renewal is a must now,” he said.

Due to this, businessmen failed to availa bank loans and the delay in relocating is hampering their businesses, he said, demanding a quick solution to the problem.

Timeline 

June 2010: 124 people were killed in a chemical store fire in Nimtoli, Dhaka

April 2011: Initiative taken to shift all chemical warehouses from Dhaka to a chemical village outside the city

October 2018: Ecnec approves the BSCIC Chemical Village project at an estimated cost of Tk201.81 crore 

January 2019: Government appoints project director

February 2019: Another 67 killed in Chawkbazar fire

April 2019: Ecnec approves revised project of Tk1,616 crore

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