Nusrat Jahan Nipa
The handloom industry of Bangladesh is the largest cottage industry in the country. According to the handloom census 2003 conducted by the government, there are currently more than 5 lakh handlooms in the country, of which there are more than 1 lakh 35 thousand in Sirajganj district. Women’s Man Bhanjan Manse Sarees by Sirajganj weavers are truly a magical wonder. This loom saree pair is perfect for breaking the standards of the emotional bride. Every year about 23 crore meters of cloth are produced from handlooms in this district. Besides, this industry has created employment opportunities for about 3 lakh people in the Sirajganj district. The weavers of Sirajganj district produce various types of cloth including saree, lungi, and towel, then cloth, three-pitch, and rural check.
Like other districts of the country, most of the people engaged in the weaving industry in the Sirajganj district live in remote areas of rural areas. Textiles produced by weavers are sold in a few bazaars of the communities, among which Sohagpur bazaar, Shahapur bazaar, Enayetpur bazaar and Sirajganj Newmarket bazaar are notable. Until 1990, sericulture in the sericulture areas of Sirajganj district was very widespread. With 100 good mulberry trees, a farmer can earn 16,000 to 24,000 rupees a year. For the additional income of the families of the poor and rural farmers, this farming is very important in creating a way of income for the people of the village without going to the city.
In Sirajganj, the traditional weaving factory is on the verge of closure. Many textile mills have already closed due to debt pressure. Many loom owners have left this profession and moved to other professions. This situation has arisen because the price of cloth produced in the market is low despite the increase in the price of the materials of this industry. Increase in wages of workers, non-availability of bank loans at low-interest rates, abnormal increase in prices of textile materials, yarn and dye chemicals and bankruptcy due to failure to pay bank loans on time. Weaving is losing tradition. All in all, the textile industry owners are desperate due to debt and poverty to sustain this industry.
However, as a result of the development of the communication system with the east-west region, a new horizon of industrial development has been created in this district due to the launch of ‘Bangabandhu Jamuna Bridge’. In the same year, due to the government’s liberal industrial policy, strong support to private enterprise, and the all-round role, an important change in the process of industrialization in Sirajganj district continued. According to the instructions of the Ministry of Industry, it is proposed to acquire 12.66 acres of land for the expansion of Sirajganj Bisik Industrial City. It is said that the proposal is awaiting approval in the ECNEC meeting. Approval was given by ECNEC on 1st December/99 for setting up an industrial park at a project cost of Tk 200.00 crore on 400.00 acres of land in Sirajganj Sadar Upazila, 2.50 km west of Bangabandhu Bridge. Later on 23 Jan/01 development work including land acquisition program was inaugurated. It is hoped that the industry can be sustained with adequate support from the government and increased interest and awareness in that industry.