The removal of tanneries from Dhaka’s Hazaribagh has been a long time coming.
These facilities are run down and outdated and, as such, have been asked to be relocated elsewhere time and again.
Not to mention, the tanneries wreak havoc on the environment.
But the process of relocation has been anything but smooth, and the way the authorities have handled the matter leaves much to be desired.
The few owners who have managed to move their machinery to the Savar Leather Industrial Park are unable to commence production, as the park is yet to get electricity, water, and gas connections.
Furthermore, the process has been greatly slowed down by red tape, as the park authorities have not yet completed paperwork on many of the tanneries.
While it is true that the tannery owners have been uncooperative with the order to move their facilities for the last ten years, it must be asked: Why has the government not used this time to make sure the new facilities were ready?
Right now, 30,000 workers are facing uncertainty because the government has been dragging its feet concerning completing work on the relocation site.
A residential area for workers, along with schools and hospitals, was promised to the tannery owners, but that too is yet to come to fruition.
While the owners have long been uncooperative with the order to move, it has now become clear that the government is also not holding up its end of the agreement.
Tanneries have the potential to bring in good money for Bangladesh through exports, and the current situation faced by the industry is bad for all parties.
The authorities should clean up this mess without further delay.