BGMEA, Chinese co to conduct viability study on RMG park

Monira Munni: BGMEA and a Chinese company will jointly carry out feasibility study and environmental impact assessment on establishment of the proposed garment industrial park at Baushia of Gazaria in Munshiganj, mainly to accommodate the non-compliant units, sources said.

Orient International Holding Company Ltd (OIH) will finance the cost, while Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) will provide the necessary technical support to conduct both the study and the assessment by April to develop the park, they added.

“OIH and BGMEA have signed an agreement on December 14 in this regard, and the report is expected to be finalized by April,” BGMEA vice president Md Shahidullah Azim told the FE.

The feasibility study will scrutinize all the related issues, including total cost of developing the park, financing procedures, repaying and duration of fund, developing the park – either in the form of plots or buildings and their number, expected employment generation, and time for relocating the factories and its procedures, he added.

The environmental impact assessment will include management of industrial waste materials, and their impact.

OIH will bear the cost of the study and the impact assessment worth $3.0 million, he added.

The feasibility study will also decide how long OIH will operate the park, when it will hand over its authority to BGMEA, and how it will be done, sources said.

The proposed garment park also included establishing a 300-MW power plant, central effluent treatment plants, container terminals, and dumping yards. The study will fix how these things will be set up as well as their capacity and operation, they said.

The demand for setting up the garment village for relocation of the rented and vulnerable garment units has become stronger after the Tazreen fire incident. Later, the Rana Plaza collapse, which killed more than 1,100 workers, highlighted the need for speedy relocation of such units.

These incidents drew extensive attention at home and abroad, and the global buyers asked for ensuring health, fire safety and other compliant issues.

Besides, Bangladesh’s emergence as the second largest RMG exporter after China, and the country’s surging export demand also prompted the government to think about setting up the garment park.

The government finally allocated about 500 acres of land for the garment industrial park. The Prime Minister also gave directive to all concerned to implement the project on a priority basis.

The process of land acquisition was completed by the authority concerned, and BGMEA and the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers & Exporters Association (BKMEA) were asked to pay an amount of about Tk 8.0 billion to establish the park.

Later, the two apparel apex bodies expressed their inability to pay such a substantial amount of money. They said the industry is facing various challenges, including uncertainty over funds for remediation or retrofitting factories against the backdrop of ongoing factory inspection programmes.

In June last year, BGMEA and OIH signed a memorandum of understanding to establish the proposed garment park jointly. In August, the government gave a letter to the Chinese company.

BGMEA leaders hoped that following completion of the study, relocation of the factories will start by 2018.

The industrial park will have plots with infrastructure facilities, utility services, medical facilities, central effluent treatment plants, day-care centres, roads, drainage facilities, waste-dumping yards, fire-fighting equipments, banks, insurance offices and so on.

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