The government has fixed different weekly holidays for different industrial areas across the country, instead of traditional weekly closures, amid the ongoing electricity shortage due to global fuel oil and gas price hikes.
The Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE) issued a notification in this regard on Thursday, in which it said the step has been taken to ensure an uninterrupted power supply to the factories.
The staggered holidays will be unchanged until further notice is issued, it added.
Earlier on 7 August, State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resource Nasrul Hamid said the government decided to keep all factories closed once a week under an area-wise rationing system in a bid to minimise load shedding.
Meanwhile, industry people said long power outages in the name of the staggered holidays will hamper their machinery and production system and substantially increase their operational costs.
Take Meghna Group for example. The leading consumer goods producer operates hundreds of industrial machines at its more than 50 factories.
"Almost all our machines have to be running all the time. Once a machine is turned off, it takes two or three days to get it back to normal. Now if one day a week is closed, our overhead costs will increase greatly," Taslim Shahriar, general manager at Meghna Group, told The Business Standard.
"Even heavy industrial machines take 8-10 days to warm up to normal temperature. So, shutting the machine will be very costly," he added.
Talking to TBS, ceramics, steel, glass, cement and other heavy industry people said machines like VRM, heater, and re-rolling cannot even shut once it starts operation.
Mohammed Amirul Haque, managing director and CEO of Premier Cement Mills said, "The order to keep factories off once a week will not actually bankrupt the country, but we will surely go bankrupt."
Officials of N Mohammad Group, a plastic product manufacturing company in Chattogram, said they produce 80 metric tonnes of plastic products every day.
With the new announcement of staggered holidays, the company is now worried about how they will keep their machines operational during the long power outage on the holiday.
Amid such a situation, industry owners fear a great production loss. They said after the gas and oil price hike, the mandatorily weekly closures and scheduled power outages on the days will take a toll on them.
They urged the government to backtrack on the move.