- Bangabandhu Industrial City is being developed on 30,000 acres of land at Mirsharai upazila in Chattogram
- At present, the construction of infrastructure of the garment village is going on in full swing
- Beza claims some plots are already suitable for the construction of factories
- BGMEA says water supply to the industrial village has not been confirmed yet
- A technical school has been set up in Mirsharai in April this year to develop skilled workers for the industrial city
The garment village at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Industrial City at Mirsharai upazila in Chattogram will be all set for construction of factories by June 2022, said the Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (Beza).
At present, the construction of infrastructure of the garment village is going on in full swing. Some plots of the village are already suitable for the construction of factories, said Beza officials.
"To hand over 16 acres of ready plot, Beza has already sent letters to three investing companies. If they want, the investors can start construction of factories as the supply of gas, electricity and other utilities have been ensured," said Beza General Manager (investment platform) Md Moniruzzaman.
The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) officials, however, told The Business Standard that water supply to the industrial village has not been confirmed yet. Once it is ensured, entrepreneurs will start building the factories.
"Although the pace of work slowed down after the beginning of the corona pandemic, at present, infrastructure construction of the industrial city is going on in full swing," he added.
According to sources, the Bangabandhu Industrial City is being developed on 30,000 acres of land at Mirsharai upazila in Chattogram.
To establish a garment village on a 500-acre site in the industrial city, the BGMEA signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Beza on 21 March 2018.
Beza authorities said the infrastructure and road construction, as well as setting up gas, water and electricity connections are in the final stages. Around $1,500 million will be invested, creating employment for five lakh people, once the garment village is inaugurated and fully operational.
Beza General Manager (investment platform) Md Moniruzzaman said, "In the village, 321 acres of land, out of 500, will be allotted to 59 investors. Internal roads and drains, the infrastructure of various utility service providers and an effluent treatment plant (ETP), to purify industrial wastewater for reuse, will be constructed on the remaining land."
BGMEA President Faruque Hassan said, "We are going to visit the garment village soon. Investors will start building factories if the environment is conducive."
Beza Assistant Engineer (Civil) Ferdous Wahid told TBS, "Tenders would be floated in January for the construction of internal roads, drains and other utility services; and hopefully, by 2022, all types of utility services will be ensured."
Ahmed Noor Faisal, managing director of Visual Knitwear, said, "The Beza has sent a letter to us to take delivery of the plot for construction of the factory. We will build a fabric mill at the garment village, creating employment for 500 workers. We will start building the factory soon."
Beza Manager (Investment Platform-2) Md Ahsan Ullah said, "Initially, we planned to hand over the plots to the investors by 2021; but the infrastructural construction slowed down a lot as the global supply chain was severely disrupted by the pandemic. However, by June 2022, the garment village will be fully ready for construction of factories."
According to Beza sources, several companies including Zhuzhou Jinyuan Chemical Industry Co Ltd of China, Nippon Paints of Japan, Asian Paints of India and Berger Paints are currently constructing their factories in the industrial city. By mid-2022, about 13 companies will be able to go into production.
Meanwhile, a technical school has been set up in Mirsharai in April this year to develop skilled workers for the industrial city. The school, funded by Clipton Group, USEP Bangladesh, HSBC Bank, is being run by the Organisation for the Poor Community Advancement (OPCA).
Mohammad Alamgir, executive director of OPCA, told TBS, "So far, we have provided 4.5 months' training in fashion designing and electric wiring trade to 155 people. These trained workers will be able to meet the labour demand in the garment village."
Meanwhile, garment traders said that even if the labour demand could not be met locally, the factories would be able to bring labourers from Chattogram, Feni and Noakhali. It would take 1.5 hours to reach the industrial city from Chattogram and from Feni it will take less time. However, if accommodation of the labourers can be ensured quickly in the economic zone area, the supply of labourers will get much easier.
BGMEA Vice-President Rakibul Alam Chowdhury said the water supply to the garment village has not been confirmed yet. Once it is ensured, entrepreneurs will start building the factories.