They were contractually obligated to lift 9.2 million tons of rock in six years, at a cost of $171.86 million
Maddhapara Granite Mining Company Ltd (MGMCL), a subsidiary of Petrobangla and the country's sole rock quarry, has earned a profit of Tk7.26 crore for fiscal year 2018-19 after suffering losses for the past decade.
The company, which commenced operating from May 15, 2007, used to lift 1,500-1,800 tons of stone daily at the beginning, but this gradually went down to 500 tons, which resulted in losses of Tk100 crore in the first six years of its operations.
This forced the appointment of Germania-Trest Consortium (GTC), a Belarus-based company, which took charge of lifting stone and management on February 24, 2014.
GTC is a consortium between Bangladesh-based Germania Corporation Limited and Belarus-based JSC Trest Shakhtos Petsstroy.
They were contractually obligated to lift 9.2 million tons of rock in six years, at a cost of $171.86 million.
The consortium introduced three shifts in 24 hours for the workers instead of one. As a result, 5,500 tons stones were lifted daily over the first six months since the consortium took charge.
They lifted 1.19 million tons by September 2, 2015, but soon had to suspend operations on September 23 the same year following shortage of necessary modern rock-lifting equipment.
According to sources in the company, MGMCL failed to provide sufficient equipment for lifting stones as per the agreement.
The suspension of production led to a loss of Tk1.5 crore each month, rendering almost 1,000 workers jobless.
The company also experienced a loss of Tk3.51 crore in 2017-18 fiscal year.
Abu Taleb Mohammad Farazi, general manager (UGO & M) at MGMCL, said 1.07 million tons of rock was lifted in fiscal 2018-19, from which rocks worth Tk164.14 crore were sold and 600,000 tons still remain in stock at the quarry.
"Currently 700 workers are employed in three shifts using modern machinery to lift 5,000 tons of rock daily," he added.
The quarry was discovered in 1974 in Dinajpur’s Parbatipur, but commercial rock lifting began in 2007.
MGMCL covers an area of 1.2 square kilometres with potential mineable reserves of about 174 million tons.