- It has 138 plots which are divided into three categories depending on size
- Metal factories, flour mills, sodium silicate factories and soap factories are doing well
- Demand for plots rises for uninterrupted gas, power supply and marketing facility
- Initiate for setting up a new industrial city at Nasirnagar upazila
Since its inception around 24 years ago, there has been no expansion of Brahmanbaria Bscic industrial city despite huge demand for plots from businesses due to easier marketing facilities through roads, rivers and railways.
Flour, metal, soap, sodium silicate and barbed wire factories are doing well thanks to uninterrupted electricity, gas supply and availability of labourers coupled with high demand for the products.
However, owners of the existing factories now cannot expand their businesses and new factories are not being established thanks to the shortage of plots as the size of the industrial city has not been expanded even after a long time of its inception.
Businesses said every metal factory markets products worth Tk50 to Tk70 lakh every month. Every flour mill is selling flour worth Tk1 crore to Tk1.50 crore per month while every sodium silicate factory and soap factory are selling their products worth Tk80 lakh-Tk1 crore respectively every month. And the lone barbed wire factory sells products worth Tk50-60 lakh monthly.
At present, there are 68 factories of different products in the industrial city of the Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industry Corporation (Bscic) established on 21.98 acre area in Sadar Upazila.
Of those, 17 are metal factories, eight flour mills, three soap factories, three silicate factories and one barb wire factory where around 3,000 workers are working.
However, businesses are facing some problems — absence of any bank branch or booth, poor condition of the drainage system and out of order central water pump machines for several years — although there is a growing demand for plots in the Bscic industrial city.
Factory owners have installed water pumping machines in their factory on their own initiative, businesses said.
Recently, authorities concerned have initiated for setting up a new industrial city at Kunda mouza of Nasirnagar upazila in the district. It may be set up on 100 acres or larger areas. But it is still at the initial stage.
According to people concerned in the industrial city, all the 138 plots divided into three categories ---A, B and S--- were leased to businessmen. "A" category ones are 4500 square feet, B category ones are 3000 square feet while S category ones are different in size.
Plot leaseholders have to pay annually Tk3.50 per square feet to the authority of the industrial city.
Tazul Islam, owner of Apon Major Flour Mills and Kashem Metal, said, flours worth around Tk1 crore are sold from his flour mills. He has five business organisations on five plots here. He now needs more plots for expanding his business but there is no vacant plot.
Reza-e-Rabby, managing director of Arshi Metal, said at present, his factory is producing only aluminum wire due to its high demand for construction work. Every month he sells aluminum wire worth Tk50 lakh-Tk70 lakh.
Md Jamal Uddin, general secretary of Brahmanbaria Bscic Industry Owners' Association, said "We have been demanding expansion of the industrial city for long as the demand for plots is growing every day. Businessmen from different areas are contacting us for plots."
Traders here have to pay bills for water despite not getting the utility service for long. Moreover, traders are facing hassles to transact money as there are no branches of any bank or ATMs. They have to maintain an office in the district town only for money transactions, he added.
Md Rokan Uddin Bhuiyan, assistant general manager at Brahmanbaria Bscic industrial city, said, "Business of some products is good here so, the demand for plots has increased. Many businessmen are contacting us and we informed the matter to higher authority.
"We do not realise money for supplying water, only collect water connection bills. Banks have to show interest in setting up branches or booths. We will cooperate if they show interest."
"High officials can say why the industrial city did not expand. Moreover, the process of setting up a new industrial city in Nasirnagar upazila is going on," he said.