Printing estate land acquisition soon

Project proposal awaits ECNEC nod this week
The government is going to start acquisition of nearly 50 acres of land next month in Sirajdikhan upazila of Munshiganj district for setting up a printing estate.

According to sources with the Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC), a proposal to this end will be placed in the Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC) meeting this week.

On approval of the proposal the BSCIC will start acquisition of land.

Earlier this month the Bangladesh Mudran Shilpa Samity (BMSS) and the BSCIC signed a memorandum of understanding anew after a rise in the project cost.

The first agreement had been signed between the BSCIC and the BMSS at the BSCIC head office on August 14 last year for setting up the estate at a cost of around Tk 1.84 billion.

However, the project cost later rose to Tk 1.98 billion because of a rise in prices of construction materials, according to BSCIC sources.

“We had to sign an agreement again as the previous construction cost was estimated based on the prices of construction materials in 2010. Now the cost has risen,” BMSS general secretary AFM Shah Alam told The Financial Express Saturday.

“About 90 per cent of the total cost will be met by the printers while the government will bear the rest under a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) project,” Mr Shah Alam said.

The new industrial zone, named ‘BSCIC Printing Industrial Estate’, will host 419 printing companies to be relocated from Dhaka city. It will be set up in Kayain union under Boroborta Mouja in Sirajdikhan upazila.

The BSCIC, the project implementing agency, will set up a solid waste management plant, a product display centre, a fire service station and a bio-gas plant on the site.

There will be four categories of plots in the estate-A, B, C and S. The plot sizes in the first three categories are set to measure 6,000 square feet (sq. ft), 4,000 sq. ft, 3,000 sq. ft respectively. The plots of odd sizes will be in the other category. Prices of the plots are yet to be fixed.

Payment for the plots will be made in 15 installments. The allotment process will be done by a committee, headed by the Munshiganj deputy commissioner.

The BSCIC has established about 74 industrial estates so far involving an aggregate investment of Tk 14.7 billion, where 0.44 million people work and produce goods worth over Tk 29 billion a year.

Mr Alam said: “We proposed to set up such an estate from Mudron Shilpa Samity in 2000, and after 13 years it is going to see the light. Over the years we have been persuading the authorities concerned to undertake the project.”

“Printing presses use some toxic materials that pose a threat to human health and environment. Besides, Dhaka is also getting more and more populous day by day. So, the printing presses need to be relocated from the capital.”

There are over 7,000 printing houses in Bangladesh. Of them, 3,000 are in Dhaka. Around 20 million people are involved with the sector. Yet it needs more skilled manpower.