Jute traders in the Khulna region have asked nine jute mills under the Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC) to pay their Tk 130 crore in arrears dues.
"Twenty-five state-owned jute mills owed Tk265 crore to jute traders from 2016 to 2020. Of these, nine jute mills in Khulna region owed about Tk130 crore to 600 jute traders," the leaders of Khulna jute traders' association said at a press conference at the Khulna Press Club on Wednesday.
The association declared an ultimatum to go for a tougher movement, including mass sit-in programme on the premises of the National Press Club and besieging BJMC, if their arrears dues are not paid.
Leaders of the association said the government has treated the jute traders inhumanely by announcing the closure of the jute mills without any discussion with the traders about the payment of their dues.
Prior to taking the decision, the government held several meetings with all concerned including the workers. But no discussion was held with the jute traders, who keep the wheels of the jute mills running by supplying jute, they claimed.
The association said 580 traders of the Khulna region have become extremely frustrated over not getting any kind of promise for payment of arrears dues. Jute traders are doing business by taking loans from banks.
Jute traders were frustrated for fear of losing capital, and the bank's pressure for repayment of loan installments.
The leaders of the General Jute Traders' Association on July 12 sent a memorandum to the prime minister through the Khulna City Mayor and the deputy commissioner demanding payment of their arrears dues.
Additionally, a memorandum will be given to the department concerned, including the Jute Minister, on July 19, seeking direct intervention of the prime minister. If any positive response is not received they will go for tougher movements, the association said.