Factories making automobile parts in Jashore have begun to get back on track from the pandemic-induced slowdown.
Hundreds of automobile parts, spring flakes and bodies are now being made in the automobile parts manufacturing hub in the country's south-western region, signalling a recovery in businesses.
Many renowned transport companies use different kinds of parts and accessories made in the factories.
Before the Covid-19 hit, the light engineering industry in the district met a lion's share of the country's demand for motor parts, saving businesses the import costs.
However, due to the virus outbreak and the subsequent 66-day shutdown, the automotive parts industry suffered a loss of over Tk50,000 crore in sales in the last five months, according to the Jashore Light Automobile Engineering Owners Association.
Alongside the automotive parts, stone and brick crushers are also made here and exported to neighbouring India.
Local traders said these exported machines are worth Tk1,000 crore.
Aktar Hossain, proprietor of Enayet Engineering Factory, one of the leading car parts manufacturers in Jashore, said in 2011, he built a factory on one bigha land in the BSCIC industrial city. His factory produces parts including brake drum, pacer box, brake disc, engine house and body of gearbox.
Aktar said he supplies all kinds of drums to almost all parts of the country.
Pabitra Kapuria, proprietor of Eagle Transport, said, "We are using the parts and bodies manufactured in Jashore as they are of high quality. Earlier, I used to import these parts from India and Japan."
Salam Chakladar, general secretary of the Jashore Bus Owners' Association, said the bus owners here use automotive parts manufactured in the district.
Kamrul Hasan Sohel, who set up SK Metal Industry five years ago, said the spring flakes made here are being used in S-pickup, T-king pickup, Jac pickup and Eicher pickup. On an average, 2,500 to 3,000 spring flakes are being produced here every month.
He said as there was no business in the last 6-7 months due to Covid-19, he was also worried about the repayment of the bank loan.
Spring flakes are currently being made in their factories. Uninterrupted gas and electricity supply and low-interest loan facilities can make the business bigger, he added.
Ashraful Islam Babu, president of the Jashore Light Automobile Engineering Owners Association, said although their business is the same as it was in the pre-pandemic time. It has recovered a bit.
In 1992, Ashraful Islam Babu started manufacturing agricultural machinery parts in his factory called Ripon Machineries in Jashore with only Tk1,200. Three years later, he established the Ripon Engineering Workshop, which used to produce different types of agricultural machinery, stone crushers, brick-crushers, water pumps and shallow engines.
There are at least 300 factories in the district that produce parts and accessories for buses, trucks, pickups and bikes as well as agricultural machinery. Products made by the factories here are being used all over the country.
He used to export 15 stone crushers to India per month after meeting local demands, Babu added.
Shamsher Ali, owner of Agrani Engineering, said oil refining machines and filters for bottled-water are being produced here. Their products are going to 40 districts of the country.
Siraj Khan Mintu, joint secretary of the association, said 25 out of 300 industrial establishments in the district are producing heavy industrial products. These factories are manufacturing automobile parts including stone and brick crushers, parts of ago machinery, power tillers, rice refining machines and others.
The price of the automobile parts made in these factories will cross Tk1000 crore a year, he said.
"If the package VAT goes up, there is a risk that this industry will close down," Siraj Khan said
Philip Biswas, executive director of Rural Reconstruction Foundation which provides the workers with technical training, said manufacturers have been making automotive parts in the district for a long time. The quality of the products they produce is good.
Mizanur Rahman Khan, former president of the district chamber of commerce and industries, called upon the people to search international markets for these products as well as the country.