Some 37 companies are set to relocate and 59 companies will relocate in phases. These companies are supposed to sign separate contracts on leasing lands with Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA) this month.
According to Prothom Alo report, factories will be built on 321 acres of land out of 500 acres allotted to Bangladesh Garments Manufacturer and Exporters' Association (BGMEA) to establish an industrial hub at Bangabandhu industrial city.
The remaining land will be used for different services including waste treatment, internal roads and lakes. Some $3 billion (Tk 2500 billion) are supposed to be invested in this garment city. Garment factories owners association BGMEA had been trying to establish a garment city at Baushia area of Munshiganj. But a section of owners did not show interest in relocating their factories there. The government is supposed to provide necessary facilities, but did not do. So the proposal remained on paper.
But it is a matter of hope that almost all garments owners have agreed to relocate their factories to the Bangabandhu industrial city in Mirsarai of Chattogram. One of the reasons is that the location is near the Chattogram port. There is a plan to build a deep sea port in Mirsarai. Secondly, being the country's biggest economic zone, there are all sorts of facilities including gas, power and water. Residential buildings will also be built for the workers. The companies interested to relocate to Bangabandhu industrial city include Graphics Textile Limited, Columbia Garments Limited, Clifton Cotton Mills Limited, Visual Knit Wear Limited and Pacific Cotton Limited.
BEZA executive director said Bangabandhu industrial city is divided into 30 zones. BGMEA garments factories are located between Zone 2-A and Zone-2 B. These two zones will be turned into a complete green economic zone. A plan to establish a garment city was taken much earlier, which is delayed due to the outbreak of coronavirus. It is hoped the work for the industrial park will go on in full swing once the coronavirus is contained fully.
There are over 4,000 garments factories in the country, most of which are located in Dhaka, Narayanganj and Gazipur. Owners have to struggle to transport raw materials and products and local people have to suffer a lot as the areas are densely populated. Whereas 90 per cent of readymade garments are exported through the Chattogram port, there is no reason to locate most of the factories in Dhaka and its adjacent areas.
A number of garments cities have to be built in a bid for sustainable development of the industries and to relocate the factories from the residential areas. The government must be beware that the condition of garment city does not take the similar fate of tannery industry city in Savar. Garments factories have to be located there after ensuring all facilities including communications, services and infrastructure. Garments factory owners must not oppose the move.