Vermicelli is one of the most lucrative food items during the month of Ramadan and Eid festivals. As the demands of vermicelli increased during the upcoming Eid-ul-Fitr, a section of dishonest traders were engaged in making the item in an unhygienic environment at the factories situated at the BSCIC industrial area in Rajshahi.
After visiting some vermicelli making factories in BSCIC area on Sunday, this correspondent noticed the artisans engaged to prepare Semai at those factories were without their factory dress and were making dough of flour in a dirty environment. Some were working without wearing proper dress as a result, sweats from their bodies were being poured in the flour. Most of those workers were without wearing any shoes as a result, their barefoots were entering inside the heap of flour while walking. However, during drying up and packaging of the vermicelli, workers were wearing polythene upto their ankles. The wall and the floor of most of the factories were also damp and dirty.
At the roof of some factories, raw vermicelli were being dried up by putting that in rows on old, dirty frame of bamboos. Flying dust was being attracted by raw vermicelli and birds and insects including house-fly were making those dirty. While asked why not proper hygienic condition is being maintained in making the vermicelli, the workers did not answer but requested to talk to the manager.
Sarwar, manager of Padma Food Industries, said this is hot, dry season of summer that is why the labourers often take off their factory-dresses but the factory authorities always asked them to work by wearing factory dress. The manager further informed, the floor is cleaned and tiles have been set up that is why labourers walk barefooted through the floor when flour is kept for making dough.
Abu Naim, owner of Padma Food Industries, said among all industrial units of BSCIC, his industry was the most clean and all goods prepared in the industry are in hygienic condition. All the floors and spots for preparing food are kept clean and floors and walls there have been tiled to avoid dust and insects. Yet, the artisans and labourers are always kept aware so that top hygiene is maintained in all places of the factory. While asked about making vermicelli in a dirty environment by the bare-footed, bare bodied labourers, Abu Naim said, the incident was not known to him and after knowing it, he will alert all labourer to maintain proper environment of factory and he will himself supervise the activities of the factory regularly.
The same dirty scenario was noticed at Yousuf Bakery at BSCIC. The same way, vermicelli and various confectionery items were being prepared there. None of the labourers there were seen to wear the factory dress and most of them were barefooted. Insects, house-fly and birds were seen to sit over the vermicelli and the vermicelli. The labourers working at those factories also did not talk to this correspondent about preparing of those consumable goods in a dirty environment. The owner of Yousuf Bakery was also not available for a comment about preparing of vermicelli and bakery items in such non-hygienic condition.
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