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2 April, 2016 00:00 00 AM
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Ban on raw hide entry to Hazaribagh enforced

Owners want more time to relocate tanneries to Savar
ANISUR RAHMAN KHAN
Ban on raw hide entry to Hazaribagh enforced

As the March 31 deadline passed, the government yesterday (Friday) enforced a ban on the entry of raw hide and skin for processing to Hazaribagh. Tannery owners failed to shift their factories to the Savar tannery village within the stipulated time. Tannery owners have once again sought time, this time till June-July, to move out of Hazaribagh. The ban is being enforced by police pickets set up at four entry points of Hazaribagh. The move to relocate the tanneries is aimed at saving the Buriganga river and its surrounding areas from severe water and air pollution.
“We have deployed the police at four points so that no raw hide or skin can enter Hazaribagh. Besides, we are also maintaining a vigil so that no one can slip through the police cordon with raw hide. No one violated the ban today (Friday),” the officer-in-charge of Hazaribagh police station, Mir Alimuzzaman, told The Independent.  
The government identified the tannery industry as the most pollutant "red category" in 1986. They have been asked to shift their factories elsewhere from Hazaribagh since then. In 2001, the High Court directed the government to shift the factories from Hazaribagh to Savar, considering the critical situation of the Buriganga to cope with the untreated highly toxic chemical wastes from tanneries. In 2003, the authorities decided to shift the tanneries as they had virtually turned the Buriganga into a pool of septic water, with untreated wastes from more than 200 tanneries being dumped into the river. The government set June 2015 as the deadline for shifting the factories to the Savar Tannery Industrial City from Hazaribagh. But not a single unit had moved to Savar despite extension of the deadline several times in the last decade.
“The infrastructure at Savar is yet to be completed. It will require time till June-July to complete the construction work. Besides, the central effluent treatment plant (CETP) is yet to be completed. We are doubtful about gas and electricity connections,” Md Shakhawat Ullah, general secretary of
the Bangladesh Tanners’ Association (BTA), told The Independent. It will be impossible to relocate the factories before July, he said, adding that more time has been sought from the industries ministry. “We are yet to get any response from the ministry,” he said in reply to a query.
“The ban will severely affect raw hide and skin traders. Around 13,000-14,000 pieces of raw hide used to enter Hazaribagh daily,” Shakhawat Ullah said. The authorities will take action against tannery owners, shipping minister Shajahan Khan said. “We have to save the Buriganga from pollution,” he added. “Action will be taken from Sunday as the offices are closed due to weekly holiday. We had earlier mentioned in legal notices that electricity, gas and water connections will be snapped if they fail to relocate factories within the stipulated time,” an official of the Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC) told this correspondent. On January 10, industries minister Amir Hossain Amu had asked tannery owners to shift their factories within 72 hours and directed the authorities to serve legal notices. About 205 plots at Savar have been allocated to tannery owners and the BSCIC has already disbursed about Tk. 250 crore for construction of factories at Savar.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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