Jashore has emerged as a hotspot for automotive parts as renowned transport companies now use different kinds of parts and accessories made in the southwestern district of the country.
The light engineering industry in the district now meets a lion's share of the country's demand for motor parts, saving businesses the import cost.
"Capital goods worth Tk1,000 crore have been produced in the region annually," said Siraj Khan Mintu, joint secretary of Bangladesh Engineering Industry Owners Association's Jashore unit.
"Leading transport companies of the country, such as Hanif Paribahan, Eagle Paribahan, Shohagh Paribahan and AK Travels use automotive parts produced in Jashore," said Akter Hossain, owner of Enayet Engineering Workshop.
His factory, located in Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation industrial area, produces more than 100 different motor parts and accessories, which go to different regions across the country.
The owner of Eagle Paribahan, Pabitra Kapuria, said auto parts produced in Jashore are of good quality.
"Earlier, these parts were imported from India," he added.
There are at least 300 factories in Jashore that produce parts and accessories for buses, trucks, pickup trucks and bikes as well as agricultural machinery.
Around 9,000 technicians and workers are employed in the sector, according to the Rural Reconstruction Foundation, a non-governmental organisation that provides the workers with technical training.
Of them, a significant portion consists of women.
Shahin, who makes bus bodies, said the bodies of big buses that transport passengers to different areas of the country are produced in Jashore.
Jashore sees huge movement of passenger and cargo vehicles because of Benapole land port here, which handles 60 percent of $6 billion trade with India. In 2017-18, 19.88 lakh tonnes of goods were imported through Benapole land port and 3.52 lakh tonnes were exported, according to Bangladesh Land Port Authority.
Hundreds of trucks and buses heavily depend on automobile parts and services giving a boost to the district's light engineering industry.
Three years ago, Kamrul Hasan Sohel built SK Metal Industry in Upashahar area which produces springs for pick-up vans.
"After completing higher education, I took a job. Later, I quit and started producing motor parts," he said.
"Now, 50 technicians produce around 3,000 springs at the factory per month," he added.
Parts made in Jashore are of good quality but cheaper than the imported ones, parts makers claimed.
"A locally-made spring costs Tk120 per kg which is Tk 180 for the imported one," a workshop owner said, citing price differences in local and imported spare parts.
About 45,000 light engineering units are producing capital machinery, and spare parts of imported and locally-made machines, including automobiles and farm technologies.
"We can meet about 40 percent of the local demand for engineering products and spare parts, which had to be imported earlier," said Md Abdul Hakim Miah, general secretary of Bangladesh Engineering Industry Owners Association.
The light engineering industry has become a substitute for the import industry in Bangladesh, creating about five lakh jobs. The market size is estimated to be Tk45,000 crore.
"But the sector is not organised yet and we do not have any sector-specific data," added Hakim.
Another factory, Bhai Bhai Engineering, makes drums for big cars, autobike's parts and tube-wells using raw materials from the shipbreaking industry in Chattogram.
Ilias Hossain, owner of the factory, said this industry would develop more if bank loans were available.
The president of Jashore Light Automobile Engineering Owners Association, Asraful Islam Babu, started his business of agro parts with only Tk1,200 back in 1992.
Three years later, he established Ripon Engineering Workshop, which now produces different types of agricultural machinery and stone crushers.
He exports 15 stone crushers to India per month. Each stone crusher is priced at Tk4 lakh.
Former president of Jashore Chamber of Commerce, Mijanur Rahman Khan, urged the government to come forward for further development of this potential industry in the district.