The government is going to take an initiative to set up a leather industrial park beside the BSCIC Tannery Industrial Estate in Hemayetpur, Savar, as part of a plan to set up a full-fledged leather industrial city.
Tanneries and backward and forward linkage industries related to leather goods will be accommodated in the new industrial park, said sources.
If the project is implemented, it will be part of a full blown leather industrial city sprawling over 400 acres of land, according to Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC) officials and tannery entrepreneurs.
In 2003, the government had taken the initiative to build the BSCIC Tannery Industrial Estate on 200 acres of land at Hemayetpur by shifting all tanneries from Hazaribagh in the capital in order to prevent environmental pollution and to protect the Buriganga River.
The Tannery Industrial Estate project's tenure was extended repeatedly and so it has not been completed yet.
Although a number of tanneries were shifted from the capital to the Tannery Industrial Estate, they have been facing problems owing to complications regarding the central effluent treatment plant (CETP). The implementation period of the project will end in June this year.
The proposed BSCIC Leather Industrial Park will be set up on another 200 acres of land adjacent to the Tannery Industrial Estate on the bank of the River Dhaleswari.
Around 200 industrial units will be set up on 270 industrial plots on around 79 acres of land, a modern CETP on around 21 acres of land and a 50 megawatt power plant on 8 acres of land.
Sources at BSCIC said although the tanneries have been shifted from Hazaribagh to Hemayetpur, there are no housing, training and research facilities for the workers. The backward and forward linkage industry associated with leather did not find a place in the estate either.
Besides, there is no fire station in the Tannery Industrial Estate too. Solid wastes are kept in open spaces, which pollute the environment as there is no waste management system.
Md Rashedur Rahman, deputy general manager (planning) of BSCIC, said things that were not included in the Tannery Industrial Estate project will be added to the new Industrial Park to develop a full-fledged leather industrial city.
He said, "A plan has been prepared to set up accommodation, training, research and laboratory facilities for workers. There are also plans to link the tanneries with the backward and forward linkage industries related to the leather products.
"The previous plan was not incomplete, but some things could not be included in it. Spaces will be allotted for those in the new project."
There will be shopping malls and a commercial complex in the new leather industrial park.
In addition to that, there will be a power generation plant, two electrical substations, a gas station, a cold storage, a four-module CETP, a solid waste management system and a dumping yard.
The industrial park will also have a day care centre, clinic, club, conference room, banks and insurances, fire and police stations, playground and water treatment plant.
The plan includes an allocation of 10% or 27 plots for promising women entrepreneurs in order to enhance women's empowerment.
Employment for around 1 lakh people will be created when the project is implemented.
According to the summary of the project, the Ministry of Industries has taken the initiative to set up the BSCIC Leather Industrial Park. The objective of the project is to increase employment and the contributions of the leather industry to the national economy.
Around 20% of financing for the project will come from loans and 80% of it will be grants.
Bangladesh Tanners Association President Md Shahin Ahmed told The Business Standard, "The leather industrial city will be developed as a comprehensive industrial city through the new project. The tanneries which did not get space will be accommodated here. Backward and forward linkage industries will be set up in separate clusters."
He said, "In the backward linkage in the leather industry, manufacturers make products by managing solid wastes. Some goods are made of the discarded portions of rawhides. Footwear, bags, wallets and belts are made in the forward linkage industries."
The leather industry was developed into one of the largest industries of Bangladesh in the 1970s.
Bangladeshi leather industries make leather-based products such as garments, shoes, belts, bags, jackets, suitcases, wallets and some fancy items. These products are sold both in domestic and foreign markets.
Leather footwear is the fastest growing segment of the leather industry. Bangladesh meets the demand for about 10% of the world's total leather market.