Meeting local demands
Staff Correspondent: Bangladesh is the 40th largest cotton producer in the world, although it is the second largest cotton consumer in the world. According to the annual report of the Cotton Development Board, the annual fiber cotton demand of the country’s 450 spinning mills is around 75-80 lakh bales (1 bale=182 kg), but in the fiscal year 2020-21, the production was 1 lakh 76 thousand 286 bales. That is, 3 crore 22 lakh 84 thousand 52 kg, which is only 3 to 4 percent of the total demand of the country.
One such factory is M/s Idris Cotton Industries. The company has been producing cotton from abandoned cloth since 2008 in the industrial city of Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industry Corporation (BCIC) in Dhuliakhale, Habiganj. Cotton is prepared in the factory from the discarded fabric of the garment. Every month 6 to 7 thousand kg of discarded cloth is brought to the factory as raw material for cotton production. It costs 1 lakh 20 thousand taka. Workers remove dirt from abandoned clothes. Later it is fed into the machine.
The workers put the clothes in three to four machines alternately by pressing them by hand on one side, and the abandoned clothes come out as cotton on the other side. The more fabric is machined, the better the cotton. That cotton is bagged and kept in the warehouse. Later that cotton is sold in local shops or markets.
It is known from M/s Idris Cotton Industries that 6 to 7 thousand kg of abandoned cloth is brought every month from which 5 thousand kg of cotton is produced. One lakh 20 thousand taka worth of this one car is produced from cotton cloth and sold for about two lakh 50 thousand taka. Normally cotton is produced from one carload of discarded cloth. However, the demand for cotton is slightly higher in the winter season. Because of this, the factory needs two cars of abandoned cloth to meet the local demand before winter. Idris Cotton Industries has been producing cotton from discarded fabrics for a century. The factory is producing cotton to meet the local demand. Local shopkeepers bought cotton from the factory to make blankets before winter. Earlier, the demand of the shopkeepers was high, as a result the production of cotton in the factory was also high. But now it has decreased a bit.
Abul Kashem, the manager of the factory, blames the cotton production and production of products by big companies as the reason for the decrease in demand.
He told that when orders are available, production is high. But now the demand is very low. There is a little pressure before winter. So, it takes two cars of abandoned clothes. This cotton is bought by the textile shopkeepers. The demand of shopkeepers earlier is less than that now. Big companies are now producing cotton and selling cotton used products in the market. As a result, production in local factories has decreased.
A number of male and female workers work in the factory, from sorting discarded cloth to producing and selling cotton. They work for a salary of 3 to 8 thousand taka. Some earn a living for the whole family by working there.
Shahana Akhter works to sort abandoned clothes in the factory. He works from 8 am to 5 pm every day. He has been working in this cotton factory for three years. In the beginning, he worked for a salary of 3 thousand 300 taka, but now he gets 3 thousand 800 taka. With her husband’s income, she manages her family with her children, husband and in-laws.
Another woman named Raihana Khatun worked in the factory for two years. Can’t work because husband is sick. Raihana Khatun is the sole breadwinner of the family. This woman is making a living with her only son and ailing husband on the salary received from Idris Cotton Industries.
Jitu Mia, the husband of Nazma Begum, the machine operator of the factory, died of a stroke five months ago. Now her family is living with her only nine-year-old daughter on the salary of Tk 4,800 received from the factory.
Apart from the salary of the workers, most of the monthly income of Idris Cotton Industries is spent on human welfare, said manager Abul Kashem.
He said, the owner of the factory does not live in the country. He basically kept the factory open for employment of some people and service of people. Here the income is 20 to 50 thousand maximum per month. This money is spent on human welfare, donation to mosques and madrasahs, weddings of the helpless, assistance and relief to the sick. He also said that the income of the factory has given foodstuff to the needy people in the recent floods.
In 1986, the land allotment started, but production started in HabiganjDhuliakhaalBisik Industrial City around 1987-88. There are 69 plots allotted in this industrial city which is established on 15 acres of land. 60 industrial units like Idris Cotton Industries have come up in 65 industrial plots in this industrial city. Most of which products are developed depending on local demand.
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