BNP on Monday described the government’s decision to shut down state-owned jute mills sending around 25,000 workers into early retirement through 'golden handshake' as an anti-people one.
Speaking at a virtual press briefing from BNP’s Nayapaltan central office, party senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi also urged the government to move away from such a decision to lay off the jute workers amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“The government’s decision to close the state-owned jute mills and lay off the workers through golden handshake is an anti-people move. No one, except the mass enemy, can take such a decision,” he said.
The BNP leader said the jute mills closure will only put the already struggling workers into a serious trouble. “People won’t accept this anti-people decision of the authoritarian Awami government.”
On Sunday, Textiles and Jute Minister Golam Dastagir Gazi said the State-owned Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC) will be halting operations to stop staggering losses.
He said around Tk 5,000 crore will be provided from the government budget over the matter and all arrears of 8,954 workers who retired since 2014 will be cleared, he said, adding that all the overtime dues, PF fund, gratuity and highest 27 percent of gratuity will be paid to the present workforce numbering 24,886.
Rizvi alleged that the country’s traditional jute sector is now on the verge of ruination only because of the government’s wrong policy and mismanagement.
He said Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC) continues to incur heavy losses due to corruption, plundering, wrong policies and inefficient administration. “But the workers are not responsible for it.”
Rizvi said many workers, both in formal and informal sectors, have become jobless while many expatriates who returned home also become unemployed due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Under such a situation, the BNP leader said, the government’s decision to close the jute mills is inhumane. “The so-called pro-liberation regime has taken the move going against the spirit of the Liberation War.”
He said it is the responsibility of the relevant ministry and BJMC to find markets for jute abroad, diversify jute products and take steps to overcome the losses. “But the workers won’t take any responsibility for the losses.”