'Previously Bangladesh needed to import these machineries to meet domestic demand but now we are producing and also exporting to India'
Light engineering industries in Jessore are manufacturing parts for vehicles, shallow machines, stone breaking machines, and other machinery , meeting not only the needs of the country, but also earning millions in exports.
At least 300 light engineering industries are spread across Jessore sadar, producing not so sophisticated light machinery on a regular basis, said Ashraful Islam Babu, president of the Light Automobile Engineering owners association, Jessore.
"Previously Bangladesh needed to import these machineries to meet domestic demand but now we are producing and also exporting to India," he added.
Babu founded Ripon Engineering Workshop in 1995, which manufactures stone crushers, brick breaking machines, shallow-engine machines, water pumps, and other machinery.
His workshop has a good market for the stone crushers across the country, and also exports at least 12 to 15 of them to India every month, each priced at around Tk 450,000.
Akhter Hossain, owner of Enayet Engineering, said a total of 50 workers at his industry manufacture vehicle parts such as brake drums, pressure plates, gearboxes, and disk brakes, meeting local demand and serving transport owners.
He founded his industry in 2011, in the Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC) industrial area of Jessore.
Young entrepreneur Kamrul Hassan Sohel launched SK Metal Industries, three years ago. His industry with 50 employees produces at least 25,000 metal springs for vehicles every month.
Sohel said he could grow his industry with uninterrupted electricity and gas supply and lower interest rate loans.
Another youth, Selim Sheikh founded an industry in the suburbs of Jessore, manufacturing various types of pots, pans, and pulley, for fans. Everyday his workshop, run by 30 workers, supplies 800-900 kgs of an assortment of products.
Selim said there is a high demand for his products, with pulleys for fans being exported to India, but was disappointed he could not expand his industry because of high interest rate loans.
Owner of Agrani Engineering, Shamser Ali, has his workshop beside the Jessore-Narail road, distributing filters for bottled water across 40 districts.
Bhai-Bhai Engineering of BSCIC industrial area in Jessore melts down shipwrecks from Chittagong ship breaking yards and manufactures tube-wells, fodder cutting machines, and parts for auto-rickshaws.
Former president of Jessore Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mizanur Rahman Khan, said: "Industries in Jessore have been manufacturing good quality products for quite some time. We need to find more international markets for these industries of artisan goods, otherwise these will not move forward."