Home Bangladesh Tanneries unprepared for processing quarbani hides
Bangladesh - June 13, 2024

Tanneries unprepared for processing quarbani hides

10 m animals to be slaughtered

Zarif Mahmud: Eid al-Adha is around the corner. This time more than one crore animals may be slaughtered in the country. How ready is the tannery village of Hemayetpur in Savar to process so many animal skins?
To find an answer to such question, it was found yesterday that the central sewage treatment plant of Tannery Palli is useless. It does not properly treat waste water. This contaminated water is being discharged into the nearby Dhaleswari river. Biodiversity is being destroyed. Apart from this, no dumping station for leather waste or solid waste has been constructed so far.
Due to these reasons, foreign buyers have reduced the purchase of leather from Bangladesh. Because tannery village is not up to standard, many factories here have not got LWG certificate. And foreign buyers don’t buy leather from factories that don’t get this certificate.
In this situation, most of the new skins of more than one crore will be taken in Savar. When asked whether the tanneries have the capacity to store new leather, Shaheen Ahmed, president of Bangladesh Tanners Association, said, “We are in trouble with the tannery village.” What is the situation here, from the top of the government to the bottom-everyone knows. In fact, the dream with which we moved the tannery from Hazaribagh to Hemayetpur in Savar was not fulfilled. On the contrary, we have faced various crises while going there. Tannery village has been built at a cost of about Tk 1.5 billion, but many things, including the central sewage treatment plant, are not working properly. Foreign buyers do not want to take the leather produced now.
He said, there is no preparation to take so much leather for Qurbani Eid in the tannery village of Savar. This is mainly because about 40 percent of last year’s hides are still in the tanneries. Apart from this, we are not even getting a loan from the bank to buy leather for the new season. Many tannery owners do not have money. How can tannery owners buy leather if they don’t have money.
Tannery Palli area yesterday can be seen on the surface, Savar leather industrial city’s central waste treatment plant is not yet fully ready. There is no permanent dump or dumping yard. Export of leather sector is not possible as compliance is not 100% guaranteed. In 2017, the tannery industry was shifted from Hazaribagh area to Savar. But it did not have much impact on exports.
Most of the tanneries in Savar BSCIC Leather Industrial City have not been completed. None of the factories in operation have LWG certification. In order to sell leather and leather products at a good price to the world’s leading brands, the leather industry’s global organization Leather Working Group or LWG needs to be certified. But none of the 142 tanneries in the leather city of Savar has that certificate.
Yesterday, it was seen that the production work is going on in the tanneries. The workers are entering the prison with skin on their heads from the pickup van. Several tanneries have prepared ahead of Eid al-Adha. On the other hand, two old dumping yards have been filled with waste for a long time. The work of digging two ponds is going on anew to dump the huge amount of leather waste of Eid. Apart from this, like every other day, the polluted water of CETP is falling through the drain into Dhaleswari river.
When asked about these issues, Managing Director of Dhaka Tannery Industrial Estate Waste Treatment Plan Company Limited, Golam Shahnewaz said, there is no denying that there is a problem with CETP. But we are trying to do something good. It is not true that polluted water is discharged directly into the river. According to our treatment, about 80 percent of the treated water goes to the river.
Owners say that the tannery industry is in worse condition after coming to Savar from Hazaribagh. Due to CETP problem they are not getting LWG certificate. Cannot export processed leather to desired buyers. It is no longer possible for them to survive only by exporting leather to China.
Tannery owner Mojibur Rahman Mozu said that CETP has to pay Tk 2 to 3 lakh every month. Even if you give so much money, is this company working? The tannery industry is on the verge of destruction today due to CETP. They release waste water into the river in the dark of night. Foreigners came to know about it through journalists, various people working on environment and blacklisted us. That’s why we are not able to sell leather and leather products to the famous brands of the world. We would have got the LWG certificate if CETP had done their job properly. Then our leather could be exported to various countries including Europe and America. Since we don’t have LWG certificate, we have to sell leather only to China at low price.
Owner of Sunlight Tannery. Parvez said that at present the amount of gas, electricity and water bill has been increased, the factory has to count losses of Tk 5-7 lakh every month. There is no demand for our leather abroad. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Industry has no strong initiative, how do we do this business?
Hard life of workers: About 7 to 7.5 thousand workers are working in 142 tanneries in the leather industrial city. According to the wage board, these workers are being deprived of the salary they are supposed to be paid. The wages of these workers are determined in the light of their work experience.
Both permanent and temporary workers work in the tanneries of Savar. Among them, freshers are paid Tk 7-9 thousand and experienced workers are paid Tk 10-12 thousand. There is no proper system to meet their basic needs of living including housing, medical treatment. They are more vulnerable to rising commodity prices.
A worker named Kamal Uddin said that he gets a salary of Tk 12 thousand per month. But it is very difficult to run his family with this money. He has been working in the tannery industry of Savar for the last four years, forced to not find work elsewhere.
Tannery worker Siddique has been working for 12 years. His salary in Hazaribagh was Tk 10 thousand. At that time, the price of things was enough to support his family. Currently, the family is no longer living on a salary of Tk 14,000 due to the increase in the cost of goods. He is doing this job by being helpless. Can’t even leave.
Abdul Malek, General Secretary of Tannery Workers Union, said that they are agitating for the minimum wage of tannery workers to be Tk 25,000. Besides, their movement is going on to provide all the facilities to women workers as per the labor law including maternity welfare facilities.
The price of everything increases and decreases, only the price of leather: Every year on the Eid of Qurbani, tannery owners buy raw animal skins at the price of water. However, according to the sources of Export Development Bureau (EPB), tannery owners trade leather and leather products worth Tk 13-14 thousand crore annually. However, poor people are deprived. That is, the sacrificer, the beneficiary of the value of the leather and the consumer of the leather product have to cheat. On the other hand, tannery owners and animal skin traders of various levels are taking extra profit.
Although the price of everything in the country is increasing, only the price of the skin of the sacrificial animal is decreasing. According to statistics, even in 2013, salted cowhide is Tk 85-90 per square foot in Dhaka; Khasi leather prices were fixed at Tk 50-55 per square feet. Whereas in 2024, the price of cowhide has been set at Tk 55-60 per square foot; The price of Khasi leather is Tk 22-25. It is seen that in the last 11 years, the price of cow leather has decreased by Tk 30 per sq. ft., while the price of goat skin has decreased by Tk 28-30 per sq. ft.
Although this reduction in price can be seen from the external point of view, the price of leather is much less if we take into account the purchasing power of money i.e. inflation. According to a statistic, the price of goods has increased by 133 percent on an average in the last 10 years, that is, the current price of the goods which cost Tk 100 in 2013 is Tk 233. According to that, in 2013, the price of salted cowhide per square foot of Tk 90 should be Tk 210 in Dhaka; But the announced price of 2024 is only Tk 60 per square foot in Dhaka. This means that leather prices have fallen by 28 percent in 11 years. The price is about one forth.

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