Lack of sufficient water and power supply, as well as poor roads and drainage system, has greatly hampered the growth of the industries
The Khulna unit of a Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC) estate, a very important government organisation concerned with rapid industrialization of small and cottage industries, is crippled by various problems including water and power supply shortage, as well as poor road infrastructure.
According to the Khulna BSCIC sources, in order to gear up industrialization of small and cottage industries in the region, the estate was established on 44.10 acres of land with 240 plots on 8 March, 1965, in the city's Shiromoni area.
Afterwards, the plots were allocated to 88 entrepreneurs to set up various small industries, including food, chemical, jute, printing and packaging industries.
Our correspondent recently made a visit to the estate and spoke to several owners, employees, and workers there.
Employees and workers said the lack of sufficient water and power supply, as well as poor roads and drainage system, has greatly hampered the growth of the industries.
Owners said 20 industries are currently under lock and key as they racked up huge losses owing to the aforementioned problems.
They also added they took a large amount of loans from banks to run the businesses and failed to pay back the loan later due to the loss, and had to wind down their industries.
The roads connecting the highways inside Khulna BSCIC have many potholes as those have not been renovated for many years. Water logging also occurs during the rainy season. All this leads the goods laden vehicles on these roads to frequently collapse, bringing about heavy losses for the owners.
Water can not be supplied to the industries properly as the water pumps remain out of order most of the time. In addition, the electricity supply line is old and does not provide smooth power supply to the estate.
Nazmul Hasan Bappi, manager of the closed Asian Spool Industry Ltd, said that the poor road system was responsible for the closure of his factory. Goods laden trucks collapsed many times on the road, which brought heavy losses and caused him to default on his loan.
General Secretary of Khulna BSCIC Association Kabir Ahmed said: "Poor road infrastructure and drainage system are mainly hindering the development of the estate. The old electricity supply line also causes problems. We ourselves are now trying to fulfill the water demand for our factories."
Imran Hossain, former worker of Jute Spinners Ltd, said that the only road that is used for transporting goods has not been renovated over the last 20 years. Light to moderate rains cause water logging, contributing to the sufferings of the workers and affecting the businesses.
Sheikh Riazul Islam, an official of Khulna BSCIC estate, said: : "The task of upgrading the road infrastructure, drainage system, water pumps, and electricity supply line has already started. Moreover, 20 units have been closed down as they incurred losses and thus failed to repay their bank loans.
"The authorities are barred from taking necessary steps to revive the closed industries as they are tangled up in cases filed by the banks," he added.