The Bscic Industrial City of Brahmanbaria, which has been affected by the novel coronavirus, is gradually turning around as the worker crisis has been resolved and production in the factories has increased at the expected rate. Although almost all products produced in the industrial city are in high demand in the market, traders affected by the pandemic said it would take some more time to recover from the losses caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
Md Jamal Uddin, general secretary of Brahmanbaria Bscic Industrial City Owners Association, said the loss in Brahmanbaria Bscic Industrial Area due to Covid-19 was around Tk200 crore.
Of the 72 approved factories in the industrial city, 60 are currently operational, including eight flour mills, four vermicelli mills, three bakery mills, four puffed rice mills, four oil mills, three soap mills, four metals mills, five silver mills, two pipe mills, two barbed wire mills, two pharmaceutical mills and four silicate factories.
Soon after the outbreak of the pandemic, most of the workers stopped working, leading to a labourer crisis in the factories. As a result, production in the factories was halved while production in small factories was completely stopped. Besides, demand for products in the market also declined, with the traders suffering huge losses.
But at present 100% of workers are back in all the factories, where the production is between 60%-70%. However, due to low demand for some products, including silicate and metal, the production of those products has not increased.
According to the Bscic Industrial City Owners Association, due to the transport crisis amid a continuous lockdown, raw materials had to be transported at double the normal fare even though all products could not be delivered in time. Yet factory owners had to pay all expenses, including the salaries and allowances of workers, causing a loss of at least Tk1 crore every day.
Abdul Hafiz Mia, manager of Amanat Major Flower Mill, said the total loss to the factory was around Tk6 crore. Before the outbreak of Covid-19, 45-50 tonnes of flour and 30-35 tonnes of bran were produced every day. Now the factory is producing 25-30 tonnes of flour and 10 tonnes of husk daily.
Riton Saha, manager of Yusuf Chemicals, said the factory used to produce at least 30 tonnes of silicate a day before the pandemic outbreak, which became half during the pandemic. Now the situation was normal but there was not much demand for silicate.
"Despite having not much demand, I produce 15 tonnes of silicate daily as I have to pay the workers even though they do not work. If demand increases in the coming days the loss can be compensated," he added.
Md Zahirul Haque, proprietor of Mahi Metal Industry, said, "I have lost at least Tk50 lakh due to Covid-19. The factory is now producing, as usual. However, demand for the product in the market is a bit low. If the situation is completely normal, we will be able to recover completely."
Mohammad Billal Hossain Bhuiyan, assistant general manager of Brahmanbaria Bscic Industrial City, said some businessmen had availed loans at 4% interest under the stimulus package announced by the government and the Bscic industrial city was gradually returning to normalcy.
There are factories for various products, including oil, soap and medicine, in the Bscic Industrial City spread over 21.98 acres of land in Nandanpur area of Brahmanbaria Sadar upazila, accommodating over 3,000 people. ***