The Financial Express

BSCIC industrial zone plagued by residential buildings

| Updated: November 24, 2021 10:16:27

A residential building has been constructed on the industrial plot of Cumilla BSCIC — FE Photo A residential building has been constructed on the industrial plot of Cumilla BSCIC — FE Photo

CUMILLA: Ashoktala industrial city of Cumilla, set up by the Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC), no longer looks like an industrial area. Rather, it is turning into a residential one with uncontrolled growth of buildings and flats.

While visiting this area, supposed to house small and medium enterprises, this correspondent has come across a number of 'to let' advertisements which seek residential tenants for flats.

One such plot was S/4. If looked at it, one can easily say that it is nothing more than a four-storey residential building. No industrial activity can be seen inside the building although it holds a signboard saying 'S Alam Steel'. A tenant of the building told this correspondent that that they had been living in the building with their family for a long time. The rent of each flat is Tk 8,000 to 9,000.

The owner of the plot is Nilufa Yasmin. While talking to The Financial Express, her daughter said on mobile phone, "Once we used to make steel products. Since we could not do well in that business, we constructed a residential building on the plot. We now live here, and so are some BSCIC workers as tenants."

When asked why the industrial plot has been turned into a residential building, she cut off the phone connection.

Plot number D/1 with holding number 1023 is one of them. A three-storey residential building has been constructed on the plot which is bearing 'To Let' signboard for its flats' rent.

Apart from these two cases, there are around 50 plots which are now being used on residential purposes. Most of these plots have been converted into residential flats. And, most of the tenants are BSCIC workers. Apart from this, different types of shops including auto-rickshaw garages have been set up in several plots.

Locals have alleged that some people are abusing the plots in the name of setting up factories. The number of plots in Cumilla BSCIC is 155. Of these, 149 have been allotted to 142 establishments. Administrative facilities including offices, mosques and canteens have been constructed on the remaining six plots.

Asked residential buildings in industrial plots, BSCIC Cumilla Deputy General Manager (DGM) Jahangir Alam said that there is no such plot in Ashoktala industrial city. When this correspondent had shown evidence, Jahangir Alam said, "Some buildings look like residential places, but industrial activities take place inside the buildings. However, we will look into this issue if there is any such." Ashoktala industrial city was set up in 1960 on an area of 54.35 acres to an attempt to expand industrial activities in the district.

Badiul Alam, an official of Cumilla BSCIC, said that at present 12 factories are completely closed. "In addition, several other companies are on the verge of shutting down production. However, we have not yet officially added them to the closure list," he added.

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