The Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (Bscic) has backtracked on its initiative to set up an industrial park spanning 214 acres of land inside Madhupur reserve forest in Tangail after it failed to secure a clearance certificate from the environment department.
Confirming it, Md Rashedur Rahman, deputy general manager (Planning) of Bscic, told The Business Standard, "We will now look for a new place for the purpose in Madhupur region,"
A team will visit the Madhupur region within the next one month to select a suitable site for the fruit processing industrial park so that there is no harm to the environment and the forest, he added.
Bscic had a plan to build the industrial park right beside the Madhupur-Mymensingh road for small and medium scale entrepreneurs where pineapples and other fruits, which grow abundantly in the swathe, will be processed.
According to the corporation, there will be several hundreds of plots on Madhupur industrial park, while the initial cost has been estimated at around Tk400 crore. The corporation already completed the drawing and design for the infrastructures.
Hard on the heels of a news titled "A reserve forest and an industrial park at war" published by The Business Standard on 28 December, the industries ministry disagreed over setting up the industrial zone right into the woods in Madhupur upazila over deforestation concerns.
Earlier, the local forest department office, owner of the land, also opposed the construction inside the reserve forest.
Madhupur is famous for pineapples, jackfruits and other seasonal fruits. However, a large portion of the fruits rots every season as there is no preservation or processing facility there.
In 2016, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina promised the Madhupur locals a fruit processing industry. Subsequently, Bscic chose Mymensingh's Muktagacha upazila – a nearby region of Madhupur – for the processing zone.
But the small and cottage industries corporation in 2019 changed the location of its project to Tangail's Madhupur. Bscic officials say they changed the location as entrepreneurs preferred Madhupur instead of Muktagacha citing easier transportations and communication.
In 2020, Bscic officials flanked by the local administration visited the forest, and the industrial park plan garnered progress in early-2021.