Demonstration held in Khulna and Sirajganj for reopening state owned jute mills

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Demonstration held at Muktir Shopan in Sirajganj where protestors demands the reopening of the state owned jute mills on Sunday, September 27, 2020 | Dhaka Tribune

People who objected to the shutting down of the jute mills have been protesting for sometime over the few months 

Demonstrations held in Khulna and Sirajganj demanding the reopening of state owned jute mills.

Rallies were organised under the banner of Patkol O Patchashi Rokkha Shommilito Nagorik Parishad (Citizen’s Association for the protection of Jute industry and Jute farmers) on Sunday.

In Khulna, protesters surrounded the district’s deputy commissioner’s office and demonstrated from 11:45am to 1pm.

Demanding that the jute mills be reopened, the protesters said workers are living a miserable life as the state owned jute mills were shut down.

They further said that amid the Covid-19 pandemic, some ex-workers of the mills are working as labourers while many workers have been remaining unemployed.

Advocate Md Kudrat-E-Khuda, convener of the protesting organization, presided the demonstration.

In Sirajganj, the rally was held at the Mukti Shopan of the town in the morning.  

Speakers at the protest raised a five point demand and submitted a memorandum in this regard to the prime minister through the district’s deputy commissioner.

Raising concerns similar to that of the demonstration in Khulna, the protesters warned of rigorous programs if their demands are not met.

According to other media reports, the official decision of shutting down all 25 state-owned jute mills operated by Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC) has been in effect since July.

About 25,000 workers involved were laid off and were assured by the government of clearing their dues within the shortest possible time.

The government blamed the lack of profit being the reason to shut down the jute mills, as the Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC) said it had recorded a cumulative loss of Tk 10,674 crore from 1972 until 2018-19 and cannot be viable in the face of competition from private mills.

However, objectors of the decision have been protesting for a reform of the jute mills, stating that workers should not have to suffer for the alleged corruption and inefficiencies of the jute mill authority in managing the mills.

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