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Dhaka Tribune

State-run jute mills in Khulna fail to sell products, pay wages

A total of 28,433 tons of jute products worth Tk227 crore yet remain unsold in the nine mills

Update : 01 Feb 2020, 11:43 PM

Nine state-run jute mills in Khulna region have failed to sell their produced jute and jute-products and pay workers' wages in the last two months.

A total of 28,433 tons of jute products worth Tk227 crore yet remain unsold in the nine mills, according to the Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC).

The nine mills are Crescent Jute Mills, Platinum Jubilee Jute Mills, Khalishpur Jute Mills, Daulatpur Jute Mills, Star Jute Mills, Eastern Jute Mills, Aleem Jute Mills, Carpeting Jute Mills and Jessore Jute Industries Limited. 

BJMC Khulna Zonal Coordinator Md Banij Uddin Miah said that the state-owned jute mills had been exporting their products, with Turkey being their largest export market.  

"A slump is going on in Turkey's market right now. Even buyers are offering prices that are too low to meet our production costs," he told Dhaka Tribune, adding that exports by the mills had fallen and stocks had increased as a result.

Banij said that the nine mills had failed to pay the wages of workers for the last 8 weeks. The amount of unpaid wages had hit Tk6.50 crore, he added. 

He, however, said that only government funding could resolve the issue. 

Another BJMC senior official, seeking anonymity, said that the marketing team of the BJMC was very weak, which was why the organisation could not manage new buyers. 

"There are very few members in the team. Moreover, the marketing officials are not doing their duty properly," he claimed.

"If the administration does not take stern action against negligent officials, the situation will not improve," he said.

Workers in crisis

Mizanur Rahman, a worker at Platinum Jute Mills, said that workers in the mill had not got their wages for the last 9 weeks.

"We along with our families are suffering financially in an extreme way," he added.

The middle-aged worker said that on January 16, every worker got a slip for one week’s wages but they could not encash money yet.

The CBA President at the same mill Shahana Sharmin said that the authorities were joking with workers. 

"It provided the slips as per directives of the new wage commission but did not provide money yet," she added.

Shahana said that the mills held back work for temporary workers on the excuse of low production.

"The workers are going through hard days," she added.

Aleem Jute Mills CBA President Md Saiful Islam Litu said that that anger and depression had started to take hold of the workers as they had not been getting salaries for a long time.

"An unrest may surface if the situation continues," he added.

Yearly exports worth $1.67bn

Exporters from Khulna region, both in the public sector and private sectors, earned about $1.67 billion last year (FY2018-19) by shipping jute and jute products to 30-40 countries of the world.

The countries include India, Pakistan, Belgium, Netherlands, Russia, Japan, Belarus, Turkey, Poland, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and Greece. 

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