National, Front Page

Restoring silk shine

Published : 19 Mar 2021 09:55 PM | Updated : 20 Mar 2021 12:46 AM

Silk in Rajshahi had emerged as a promising cottage industry where thousands of people of the region were employed. Sericulture was once practiced almost in every rural home of the district. More than 90 percent workers of this industry were females. 

Bangladesh Sericulture Board (BSB) started functioning from February 1978 with its Headquarters in Rajshahi- the Silk City. Later BSB has been merged and a new state- owned enterprise named Bangladesh Silk Development Board (BSDB) has been formed.

However, the silk industries are now limping due to lack of proper and time-befitting measures. The government has taken projects worth Tk 25.75 crore for development of silk industry in Rangamati and Rangpur districts. However, there is no on-going project of BSDB in operation in Rajshahi region, according to BSDB insiders.

The authorities of BSDB highly aspire for the resumption of the past glory of Rajshahi silk. With the relentless effort of Law Maker of Rajshahi sadar constituency Fazley Hossain Badsha and Mayor of Rajshahi City Corporation AHM Khairuzzaman Liton the industry has started  rejuvenation. 

The silk sector has been ignored for a long time. Now, government is taking initiative for developing this sector .If the government offers interest- free loan to the farmers and if more research is conducted in this field, the silk industry will boom and play a vital role in the country’s economy. He, however, expressed his doubt over the success of the government sponsored projects because, he said, billions of taka have been misappropriated in the past in the name of BMRE (Balancing, Modernisation, Rehabilitation and Expansion) and development of the silk sectors.

Under this situation, the entire thing should be handled carefully so that the new- comers in sericulture are  benefitted from the  Reshom Polli by adopting  sericulture as a means of their livelihood and contribute to regain our glorious heritage .

Reshom Polly has opened a new hope in the extension of sericulture in the country. The soil, climate and socio-economic condition of rural Bangladesh are very suitable for sericulture. It ensures return in various ways round the year. Establishment of more Reshom Polli will ensure jobs for thousands of people . 

Abu Selim, President of CBA, BSBD said, Sericulture or Silk Board is a specialized technical institution and that is why, it should be headed by a technical person. But, instead of being a technical institution, it has been turned into an Administrative organisation. That is why, there is no development in the field levels.

He said that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at a meeting in 2014 directed the authorities of BSBD to include the silk extension activities under ‘Amar Bari-Amar Khamar’ projects. But the  directive was not carried out. In 2020, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had again reiterated the incusion of  the BSBD activities under ‘Amar Bari-Amar Khamar’ project but, so far no initiative has yet been taken in this connection. He demanded the  inclusion the silk extension activities under the Amar Bari-Amar Khamar project immediately.

 Mr. Abdul Hakim, Director General of Bangladesh Sericulture Development Board said, he is not disappointed with the present condition and the future of silk industries in Bangladesh. 

He mentioned, the government has taken up several development steps to revive and rejuvenate silk industries. The then Bangladesh Sericulture Board, Bangladesh Sericulture Research and Training Institute and the Bangladesh Silk Foundation have been merged to a single organisation through enacting law in 2013. In July-1, 2020, the government has issued an order by merging three organisations into a single one and steps are being taken to make all closed looms of state- owned silk factories operational gradually. Already 19 closed looms have been made operational and fine quality silk products are being produced in those looms. Already a Show-room for exhibiting and selling of silk fabrics has been opened with Rajshahi Silk Factory where various products of the factory are on display.

It is due to Corona pandemic, marketing of the products has been hampered recently. In Thakurgaon factory, work order has been given to repair and make its 20 closed looms operational. It is expected, the repairing and renovation work of the factory will be completed soon

 Fazley Hossain Badsha, MP of Rajshahi sadar constituency has been striving for more than a decade to reopen the closed silk factories in Rajshahi and Thakurgaon.

For his tireless effort, already 19 looms of Rajshahi Silk Factory has resumed operation and he hoped the rest of all 62 looms will be made operational within a short time. Earlier, through the effort of Lawmaker Badsha the government allocated a Taka 32 crore project to Bangladesh Silk Development Board (BSDB) for boosting silk production and mulberry farming.

Fazley Hossain Badsha MP said closure of the Rajshahi Silk Mills was very unfortunate. Rajshahi Silk is heritage of Rajshahi people and the countrymen and with the RCC Mayor AHM Khairuzzaman Liton he took step to resume operation of 19 looms of Rajshahi silk factory.He added, many people of the region will be employed here after a full reopening.

It is learnt, Rajshahi Silk Factory was commissioned on 15.5 bigha of land in Seroil area in the city in 1961. 

In 1996, the then Awami League government modernised the factory through adding modern machine  at a cost of around Taka 10 crore and restarted it in full swing. 

But, the then BNP-led four-party alliance government declared the factory lay off in the name of continuous loss on November 30, 2002.