The state-run blade factory modernisation project has reached its deadline with zero progress having been made
A project to modernise state-owned Bangladesh Blade Factory Limited (BBFL) was started in 2018 with a deadline of 2020; however, no work has been done on the project in the last two years.
Once the deadline was reached, it was announced that the project had been too risky to implement as the building designated for factory modernisation was too old. The project implementation now needs a new factory building and will bulldoze the old one.
Though the factory modernisation project – which was undertaken without a feasibility study – has zero physical progress, it has already spent Tk2 crore on consultants, salaries and allowances.
The BBFL project was recently revised – raising the project cost and deadline by Tk13 crore and three years, respectively.
Owned by the Bangladesh Steel and Engineering Corporation, BBFL at present manufactures and markets Sword brand double edge stainless steel blades.
The original project proposed setting up a disposable razor blade plant for BBFL. The factory building in Tongi was built in 1939 during the colonial period and it is now 81 years old.
Since it is not possible to set up the new plant in the old building, the revised project says the old establishment will be knocked down and a new two-storied building will be constructed there.
With this, the Tk25 crore original project now has been increased to Tk38 crore.
In 1980, BBFL started setting up its factory in the abandoned warehouse of Atlas Bangladesh Limited. In the previous year, the Bangladesh Steel and Engineering Corporation signed a deal with the UK-based Wilkinson Sword Company for blade production.
The BBFL factory started production in 1985, and in the following year the enterprise was transformed into a public limited company.
BBFL only produces the double edge stainless steel blade. The factory can produce an average of 3.75 crore blades a year, but it manufactured five crore pieces in the 2019-20 fiscal year.
After the modernisation, the factory will produce disposable razor blades besides double edge regular blades. Initially, a disposable razor blade assembly plant will be set up which later will be converted into a cent percent manufacturing plant.
BBFL Engineer Sumon Reza said their factory will be producing one crore disposable razor blades per year while the demand is around five crore. The modernisation will also boost the factory's regular blade production to eight to 10 crore.
Apart from BBFL, three private companies produce double edge stainless blades in the country.