Jute products worth TK 315 crore have been lying unsold for long, causing financial crisis in the mills and hampering payment of regular wages of workers and employees, said mills sources.
Among the nine state-owned jute mills, seven are located in Khulna and the rest two in Jessore area. The seven Khulna region jute mills are- Daulatpur Jute Mill, Khalishpur Jute Mill, Platinum Jubilee Jute Mill, The Crescent Jute Mill, Star Jute Mill, Alim Jute Mill, Eastern Jute Mill while Jessore region’s two Jute Mills are-Carpeting Jute Mill, Jessore Jute Industries (JJI) Mill.
Four types of products - sack, hessian, carpet backing cloth, and yarn - are produced in the jute mills.
Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC) decided to produce products keeping 3,650 handlooms operative in the jute mills in the current fiscal year. But, only 2,099 handlooms are operating which is only 57 percent of the target. As a result, 47 percent of the mill workers remained unemployed.
The mill authorities said it is not being possible to buy raw jute for financial crisis, leading to failure in achieving the production target.
The target of buying raw jute for the year 2018-2019 was fixed at 7.48 lakh quintals. But only 81,610 quintals have been bought in the last four months which is just 11 percent of the target.
However, the BJMC authorities said when the produced goods will be sold, the financial crisis will be over.
Md Sohrab Hossain, general secretary of CBA and non CBA Oikyo Parisad, said it is the season of purchasing raw jutes but there is no allocation for purchasing it. So the jute mill authorities are not being able to buy jute at lower price. Later, they have to purchase it at higher price which will boost the production cost.
The CBA leader urged authorities concerned to allocate fund for purchasing raw jute this season and take initiative for selling produced products.
Dr. J A M Mahabub-ur-Rashid Julfikar, project chief of Eastern Jute Mill, said that the production has been declined due to lack of fund. The production target is 16.34 metric tons where only 7-10 metric tons have been produced.
If the Jute Packaging Law is implemented in the local market, then the sale of goods will be increased, he said.
Sheikh Rahmat Ullah, regional co-ordination officer of BJMC, said that if the mill authorities can sell stock of products, the crisis will be solved. Then, the mill authorities will be able to buy raw jute.
He expected that the crisis will be over within one or two months.