At least 40 out of 60 factories in Brahmanbaria's BSCIC Industrial Estate have been forced to shut down operations after the Roads and Highways Department (RHD) filled up several nearby canals, leaving roads and offices in the estate inundated.
The severe waterlogging was triggered by the beginning of the countrywide nor'wester and heavy rainfall three to four days ago.
Visiting the area on Sunday, the majority of the roads inside the estate were found under water. Knee-deep water was also seen in front of the Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC) office there.
The RHD has recently filled up the canals to widen the adjacent highway – from Ashuganj to Akhaura land port – to four lanes.
Talking to this correspondent, workers and entrepreneurs at the estate said the halt in production, especially just a few days ahead of Eid, had brought forth a new struggle for them.
"For flood-like water in the area, our factory had to be closed and we lost work," said factory worker Md Akhtar, who was employed by Munni Soup. "Such an incident before Eid leads us to financial difficulty," he added.
"Water broke into our factory three days ago due to the waterlogging, forcing us to keep the factory closed. We are losing Tk10 lakh per day," said Razib Kumar Das, plant manager of MadRx Life Science Limited.
"Clients do not come to factories as BSCIC roads are now underwater. Our factory is open, but we cannot deliver goods, which is why we are cutting production drastically," said Hafiz Uddin, assistant manager of Jabed Metal.
"If the situation continues, we will incur a huge loss."
"The RHD filled up the canals without making an alternative drainage system, which ultimately caused the waterlogging. As a result, the majority of the factories at the estate are kept closed," said Md Jamal Uddin, general secretary of the factory owners' trade association there.
He said that entrepreneurs were incurring around Tk1 crore loss per day. "If the situation prolongs, the entire BSCIC industry will have to shut down."
"We, through our department, requested the highway construction authorities to fill up canals after finding an alternative drainage system. But, they did not listen to us," said Md Rokon Uddin Bhuiyan, assistant general manager of the estate.
"We are now talking to our top officials to fix the issue as soon as possible," he told The Business Standard.
Brahmanbaria RHD Executive Engineer Pankaj Bhowmik said they did not fill any land of BSCIC.
"Moreover, the BSCIC kept occupying RHD land [canals] by dumping its industrial waste for long. We took over the land again as it was needed for widening the highway," he added.
The officials said they had nothing to do in this regard.
Established on 22 acres of land at Brahmanbaria Sadar in 1998, the BSCIC Industrial Estate accommodates 60 factories manufacturing pharmaceutical, consumer, cosmetic, bakery and metal products, employing some 3,000 workers.