The Jashore branch of BSCIC has 123 units, of which 121 have factories
Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC) authorities in Jashore placed a proposal to the government on 8 May, 2011 that a second industrial city be built in the area.
However, in the last nine years, the BSCIC officials have been unable to find any clues as to when the second industrial city will be built in the district.
The proposal was to set up an "automobile industrial zone" on 40 acres of government land at Fatehpur village, next to the Daitala Bridge on the Jashore-Narail road, five kilometres east of the city.
A report was prepared and sent to the BSCIC head office through the then-deputy commissioner Mostafizur Rahman. A team from the head office was also supposed to visit to conduct an inspection, but it did not arrive.
Industrial entrepreneurs of Jashore have also expressed their displeasure over the slow pace of development of the second industrial city.
According to the Jashore BSCIC office, the Jashore branch of BSCIC has 123 units, of which 121 have factories.
The two other units have also been allotted. So, BSCIC has no vacant plots. But in the last year, more than a hundred applications were submitted to the Jashore BSCIC demanding plots, while another 50 applications were returned.
Therefore, to meet the demands of the industrial entrepreneurs, Jashore BSCIC authorities took initiative to build the second industrial city.
Sources from Jashore BSCIC said that more than a hundred automobile factories have been set up in residential and non-residential areas in Jashore city and suburbs. These factories manufacture automobile parts and bus-truck bodies, assemble auto rickshaws and three-wheelers plus repair automobiles.
Thus, the traders of the region have long been demanding a second industrial city be built and factories with integrated infrastructure facilities be set up in the same place.
Shubhechcha Dey, an official of Jashore BSCIC, said that the industrial city was built in 1962 on 50 acres of land in Jhumjhumpur, next to Jashore city.
"Products worth around Tk600 crore are being manufactured here every year. Entrepreneurs are unable to make any new investments as there are no vacant plots in the industrial city. Therefore, the traders are demanding the establishment of the second BSCIC industrial city in Jashore," he said.
He said that if an industrial zone is set up at that place, it would be easier to communicate with Dhaka and Benapole for marketing manufactured goods and transporting industrial raw materials.
"Moreover, the products manufactured by the automobile factory will largely contribute to the transport sector as an import alternative. The unemployed will also get ample employment opportunities," added Shubhechcha.
Mizanur Rahsan Khan, former president of the Jashore Chamber of Commerce, said that the development of small-scale industries in Jashore has been going on for a long time.
"It requires space. If the second industrial city is not developed, the development of industry in the region will be hampered. Entrepreneurs will lose their interest and it may stop the progress of Jashore's economic growth," he added.
Faruk Hossain, owner of Modina Metal and an industrial entrepreneur in Jashore, said that the district may not comply with the government's industrial policy unless a second industrial city is built.
"And at the same time, the progress of the district's economy will be halted. The whimsical activities of BSCIC's head office have damaged the businesses. The sooner a second industrial city is built, the faster it will bring benefits to the economy," added Faruk.
Sources from BSCIC said that on 11 April, 2012, the prime minister's economic adviser Dr Moshiur Rahman ordered the possibilities for establishing the second BSCIC industrial city in Benapole be assessed.
So, uncertainty arose as to whether the second industrial city would be in Jashore or in Benapole.
However, after receiving instructions from the BSCIC chairman's office in the first week of December last year, the dream of building a second industrial city in Jashore has resurfaced.
But since then, no progress appears to have been made.
Farida Yasmin, deputy general manager of Jashore BSCIC, said, "We are working to build a second industrial city in Jashore. The Ministry of Land has recommended single-crop land be prioritised. We are moving forward keeping this in mind."