The administration is optimistic that the move will save the government around Tk250 crore
The authorities concerned have decided to shift the hand loom industry zone, Sheikh Hasina Tant Polli from Shariatpur to Madaripur.
The administration is optimistic that the move will save the government around Tk250 crore, and ease bureaucratic red tape concerning this project.
The middlemen and racketeers, who built hundreds of houses and structures to exploit the project location in Shariatpur, are expected to suffer serious losses because of the industry shift.
Madaripur district administration has also decided to deploy Ansar personnel, in a bid to prevent the construction of illegal structures there. Chief Whip Nur-e-Alam Chowdhury has warned that stern legal action will be taken against the middlemen and racketeers.
Responding to a query, Madaripur Additional Deputy Commissioner Sajal Nur said: “Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the Sheikh Hasina Tant Polli project via video conference on November 1 last year.
“The project has a budget of Tk1,911 core. To establish the hand loom industry zone, a total of 60 acres and 48 acres of land was allocated in Kutubpur area of Shibchar upazila, and Zajira upazila of Shariatpur, respectively.”
Under the project, each hand loom operator will receive 600 feet of factory space, and 800 feet of living space in multiple six-storey buildings. The government will subsidize the purchase of raw materials, including thread and dye. International standard show rooms and a training centre will be built inside the project zone.
Academic and healthcare facilities will also be available on-site to children and family members of handloom operators.
Exploiting the system?
Discussing the exploitation attempted by land owners and middlemen, Madaripur Additional Deputy Commissioner Sajal Nur said: “The district administration recently asked the land owners of Shariatpur region for information.
“After this call for information became public knowledge, a certain group of owners and middlemen began building structures and planting trees in Naodoba and Kutubpur areas. Hundreds of structures were built in haste, to bill the government for compensation.”
Following extensive media coverage of the issue, Chief Whip Nur-e-Alam Chowdhury visited the project area, and ordered that these illegal structures be demolished.
The Madaripur district administration publically announced a deadline of 72-hours, on January 27 this year, and asked that these illegal structures be demolished.
On January 31, a three-member committee from the Bangladesh Handloom Board visited the project area. The administration, on March 13, launched a drive in Kutubpur, demolishing 80 illegal structures.
However, Shariatpur district administration was unable to take any action against the owners of hundreds of illegal structures in Naodoba. This issue could have cost the government hundreds of crores of Taka in compensation.
Under the circumstances, the minister, state minister, lawmaker and administration officials concerned made the decision to shift the hand loom industry project to Madaripur at a meeting of the parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Textile and Jute on March 24.
Speaking to the media regarding the issue, Chief Whip Nur-e-Alam Chowdhury said: “The illegal structures built in the project area received widespread media attention. The Shibchar administration demolished those structures, but the Shariatpur administration failed to take any action in this regard.
“Establishing this project in two separate districts will also involve a lot of bureaucratic red tape. So, officials concerned decided to shift the project to Madaripur entirely.”
Madaripur Deputy Commissioner Md Wahidul Islam said: “We have deployed Ansar personnel, to prevent the construction of illegal structures in the newly-proposed hand loom industry zone.
“As the project will now be situated in one district, it will save the government around Tk250 crore. Administrative and legal procedures are also expected to become faster and easier.”