Around Tk40,000 crore has so far been invested in different sectors and Tk5,000 more coming in the next 4-5 years
When it comes to industrial growth, Bogura remains way behind Chattogram, the commercial capital of the country. Still, it can boast of what it has achieved, especially in light engineering and foundry industries, over more than two decades.
The industrial hub in the country's north witnessed at least Tk40,000 crore in investments in various sectors, including agro-based industries, light engineering industries, tiles, paper mills, glass and ceramics, in the last 24 years.
Tk5,000 more in investments is expected to come in the next four to five years.
Many Indian companies alongside Bangladeshi ones are also investing in Bogura industries where around one lakh people men and women are now directly or indirectly employed.
What is more, new investment opportunities have opened up in sectors like tannery and eco-friendly brick factories, said Masudur Rahman Milon, president at Bogura Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
If the initiative to establish another industrial city on 300 acres of land in the district, at Tk1,000 crore, is implemented, at least Tk2,000 crore more will be invested, according to Bogura Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC).
Bogura BSCIC Industrial City Officer AKM Mahfuzur Rahman said 60 out of 93 industrial factories in the industrial city are of light engineering and foundry.
"At least 50,000 men and women have been directly and indirectly employed in the 33-acre industrial city. If the proposed industrial city on 300 acres is implemented, it will create employment for two lakh more," said AKM Mahfuzur Rahman.
He said the investment amounting to Tk300 crore in a proposed tiles company remains stuck due to a lack of land.
Hafizur Rahman Montu, manager at the now-defunct Jamil Group of Companies in Bogura, said Jamil Group of Industries and Bhandari Group of Industries closed their factories between 1984 and 1990 due to various reasons, including labour unrest, capital crisis and system loss.
"After the closure of several factories in Bogura, including Jahed Metal, in 1995, industrialisation in the industrial city began to be hampered, leaving a large number of workers in at least 20 factories, including Jamil Soap, Cotton Spinning Mills and Habib Match Factory, unemployed," said Hafizur Rahman.
About two decades ago, when young entrepreneurs came forward, various industries, including tiles, paper mills, jute mills and auto rice mills, were established.
UPL-Riceco International Bangladesh Limited, an Indian company, launched a pesticide re-packing project at Shitlai village in Kahalu upazila about two years ago.
Matiur Rahman, regional manager of the company, said the products of the multinational company are now going to 136 countries.
The company's Bangladesh head Mustafa Kamal said it plans to invest Tk100 crore in phases. He claimed the company's products have already gained popularity.
According to a source in the district administration, the Indian Adani Group has bought more than 24 acres of land to set up various factories in Shahjanpur, Bogura.
The company will invest Tk400 crore in the next four to five years. The company has already started their work in different areas of the country, including Mirsarai in Chattogram.
ATM Shafiqul Hasan Jewel, owner of seven large companies, including Hasan Pulp and Paper Mill in Kahalu, Bogura, said Tk1,300 crore have been invested in seven companies, including two paper mills and two jute mills.
"Some 3,000 men and women are now working in the seven organisations," he added.
Azad Group has set up five large industrial factories, including two glass factories in Kahalu upazila.
Abdul Majid, chairman of the group, and Abul Kalam Azad, its managing director, said considering the environment, the five factories run by the group have directly employed 5,000 men and women.
"Although the first glass factory produces 70 tonnes per day, the one that is being set up spending Tk700 crore will produce 500 tonnes per day," he said.
"The demand for glass in the country is increasing at a rate of 28% every year," he added.