Owners of washing factories in Keraniganj on Tuesday urged the government to allow them to reopen their factories to collect money from clients who are not paying their overdue invoices.
''Allow us to reopen and run the factories here until they are relocated to the industrial zone,'' said the leaders of the Keraniganj Washing Factory Owners Cooperative Society.
The organisation, in a press release issued on Tuesday, placed multiple demands to save the industry and protect the jobs of 25,000 workers.
Sohail Reza, general secretary of the organisation, said the Department of Environment (DoE) closed some industrial factories, as they were operating in residential areas, on 10 December. A few days later, the DoE carried out another operation and shut down 37 factories.
"It is a matter of timing as the industrial park is not ready yet to set up industries. It is not possible to move from one place to another in a hurry," said Kazi Abu Sohail Kajal, president of the organisation.
"We have already purchased 500 kathas of land in Keraniganj Industrial Park to relocate our factories from the residential area," he said.
Keraniganj Industrial Park has been filled with soil and the work on the plot is progressing rapidly. But the park needs utility services, like: electricity, gas, an effluent treatment plant (ETP), and sewerage lines. Due to the progress of the work – including on the layout plan and ETP design – they have submitted the required documents of the Central ETP to the DoE, which is currently in process, he added.
At present, about 25,000 workers are directly employed by 81 washing factories in the area. Additionally, about three lakh people are employed in 10,000 small garments, laundry, embroidery, and other necessary factories here.
The demands include not closing the existing factories until they are relocated to the industrial zone, providing easy-term bank loans to factory owners and not making hasty decisions.
The organisation said if this situation continues, 25,000 workers will lose their jobs. Another three lakh workers involved in this industry will also become unemployed.