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Dhaka Tribune

Coronavirus fear badly affects Jessore industries

In such a situation, factory owners have been forcing their labourers to go on mandatory leave without wages, worsening their already miserable lives

Update : 07 Mar 2020, 11:30 PM

Fear of coronavirus has badly affected manufacturing and assembling industries in Jessore as their trade with China has remained suspended for a month against the background of the deadly virus epidemic breaking out.

In such a situation, factory owners have been forcing their labourers to go on mandatory leave without wages, worsening their already miserable lives.

"The industries are going through very hard times, which is a fallout of coronavirus," said Jahid Hasan Tukun, former president of the Jessore Chamber of Commerce and Industries.

He told Dhaka Tribune that industries in Jessore exported the majority of their goods to China, while many of them imported raw materials from the country. "But the suspension of trade with China has turned the industries into sufferers," he added.  

Tukun, however, said business people might be able to overcome their difficulties if coronovirus could be controlled soon. "Otherwise, businesses will count unimaginable losses," he added.

Besides, the living costs of the mass people, Tukun said, had increased due to the suspended trade.

SS Leather Industries at Abhaynagar in the district is a 100% export-oriented factory and sends more than 60% of its products to China.

"Our exports dropped to one-third because of the deadly coronavirus outbreak in China," said Bidhan Kumar, manager of the factory. Besides, production has slumped, he added.

"We incurred a Tk80 crore loss because of the suspended trade with China," said Kumar, adding that his factory was about to close down.

Another senior official of the factory said that the management had forcibly sent more than half of the workers on leave without their wages.

"The workers are now suffering from a huge crisis. But we can do nothing," he lamented.

About 15-16 firms in Jessore assemble easy bike importing materials from China. 

The firms were selling 150-200 easy bikes per day before the coronovirus outbreak, but sales have fallen to almost zero now, said Iqbal Al Jahid, manager of Sudad Enterprize, one of the assemblers.

"We cannot produce easy bikes as import of materials from China has remained suspended for the last one month," he said, adding that business would have to be shut down if the situation continued.

The situation is similar in every factory in the district. New exporters said they had suffered the most.

"I initiated shrimp exports with China last year but this suspension of trade has hit me hard," said Shyamal Das.

"Last year I earned Tk10 crore and dreamed of Tk20 crore this year," he said. He has had no new orders for the last two months.


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