Bangladesh backs down on December deadline for tannery industries to relocate

Bangladesh backs down on December deadline for tannery industries to relocate

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The government has yet again backed down on the December deadline for tannery industries in Hazaribagh to relocate to Savar’s under-construction Leather Industrial City.A taskforce comprising six ministers decided at a meeting on Wednesday to give them more time.“Although the Hazaribagh tanneries were supposed to shift to Savar, the industries ministry has said the time is inadequate,” Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan, the taskforce chief, told reporters.He said he would discuss the matter with the industries minister and may decide upon a July 2016 ‘deadline’ for the factories to move out.Khan said 75 percent work of the industrial city’s central waste treatment plant was complete.”The industries ministry will take steps against those who are yet to complete their Common Effluent Treatment Plant,” he warned.Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation is overseeing the relocation of 154 Hazaribagh tanneries to Savar.Abdur Razzak, chief of parliamentary standing committee on finance ministry, said in January that the tanneries would have to be shifted to Savar by June.Two days before him, Industries Minister Amir Hossain Amu said tannery owners had been asked to move ‘within the given time’. Razzak had said the tanneries were supposed to shift within March but it was not possible as the work was progressing slowly.The government later extended the time to July.But after July, the government said the tanneries would be moved to Savar within December.The government has paid tannery owners Tk 2.5 billion in damages and the central bank has announced special facilities for tanneries at Savar Leather Industrial City.The High Court in June 2009 ordered shifting all tanneries to Savar after hearing a plea by BELA.
Currently, about 250 million square feet of leather is produced by 220 tanneries, 3,500 small and cottage industries, and 110 large industries.About seven million people are employed by the sector.

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