Rajshahi Textile Mills, which was set up to meet the demand for yarn and create employment for weavers in the northern region of Bangladesh, is now being rented out as it is not operating at present.
The authorities are earning around Tk4.5 lakh per month by renting out the factories, godowns, residential quarters, ponds and buildings to various government and non-government organisations.
According to the mill authorities, they get rent of Tk1.9 lakh from 11 godowns and Tk1.35 lakh from houses every month.
Additionally, Tk77,000 is earned per month in factory rent. The textile mill godowns and buildings have been leased to the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB), Swapna Confectionary, Agrolink BD, Right Agro, Bandhu Distributors, and other private companies.
Rajshahi Textile Mills was set up in 1974 on 25.98 acres of land at Naodapara in Rajshahi and went into production in 1979. In 1978, machinery was bought at Tk12 crore from India. At present, the market value of these machines is Tk3.62 crore.
Sources said the mill was operative till 2002 and was shut down on 30 June 2003 after 1,500 workers were laid off through a golden handshake. Then from August 2004, the mill restarted its operations temporarily on a daily wage service charge system.
The mill was operative till 2002 and was shut down on 30 June 2003 after 1,500 workers were laid off through a golden handshake. Then from August 2004, the mill restarted its operations temporarily on a daily wage service charge system
The mill was closed down in November 2008. After a year, the service charge system was reintroduced but on 28 October 2017, the mill was closed again.
The sources said the factory has been running on rent since 2017. The factory is leased for three years through a tender. The term of the first phase was until October this year. The second phase of the tender for leasing the factory is currently in process. Once the tender process is complete, the factory will be reopened on a lease basis from the beginning of next year.
In the first phase, Mubarak Traders of Narayanganj rented the factory for Tk77,000 per month to produce yarn at the factory and sell it in the district.
Although rented, those who use the factory use only 40% of the 47 types of machinery. The remaining 60% of the machines remain unused.
According to the mill authorities, the mill made a profit in only two of its 42 years of operation – in 1984 and 1985 – due to low-quality and backdated Indian machines. Most of the machines or required parts were not even available in India.
Despite earning Tk4.5 lakh from rent, the mills still have a debt of Tk12 crore. Out of this, electricity bill arrears are Tk29 lakh, city corporation tax arrears are Tk2.39 crore, arrears for the medical allowance of voluntary and retired permanent workers are Tk12.5 lakh, long-term loans total Tk8.94 crore, arrears of the warehouse license fee total Tk1.25 lakh, and turnover tax is Tk2 lakh.
At present there are five permanent and 15 temporary officers and employees to look after the mills
Rabiul Karim, manager (technical) and mill in-charge of Rajshahi Textile Mills, said, "At present there are five permanent and 15 temporary officers and employees to look after the mills. Considering that, I will say the income of Tk4.5 lakh per month is profitable."
However, the government is trying to operate the mill through public-private partnership because the installation of new machinery by the public-partner partnership will make the mill profitable and create employment for the people in the northern region of the country.