Chief Coordinator of Ganasanghati Andolan Zonayed Saki on Wednesday said that the workers of state-owned Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC) will not accept its closure as it is an arrangement to “loot the state wealth and smuggling them abroad”.
Saki came up with the remarks at a protest rally at Jatiya Press Club demanding cancellation of the government’s decision to shut down state-owned jute mills and removal of negligence, irregularities and corruption in the jute industry, said a press release.
He criticised the state for “displaying acute cruelty” by initiating to make 50,000 workers jobless and pushing more than one lakh people towards poverty during Covid-19 pandemic when already three crore people have slipped under the poverty line.
“The government needs Tk 1,200 crore to modernise the state-owned mills but they are allocating Tk 5,000 crore for golden handshake,” he said adding that the same thing happened during the BNP regime when Adamjee Jute Mills was closed.
“For modernisation of Adamjee Jute Mills the government needed Tk 200 crore but they spend Tk 1,300 crore to close down the mill following the advice of the World Bank,” he said.
The key reasons for the persistent loss are corruption, not modernising the factories and failing to increase production. “Without solving these issues, shutting down the factory can’t produce any solution,” Saki said.
Earlier on Sunday, Textiles and Jute Minister Golam Dastagir Gazi said 25 mills under BJMC will be shuttered in the face of staggering losses. All workers will be released with ‘golden handshakes’.
He said around Tk 5,000 crore will be set aside to clear all arrears of 8,954 workers who retired since 2014, as well as the overtime dues, provident funds, and gratuities to those who will be released under the golden handshake, numbering 24,886.
Ganasanghati Andolan central leaders Abul Hasan Rubel, Bachchu Bhuiyan, Julhasnain Babu, Jannatul Marium Tanya also spoke at the demonstration among others.