Salt industries are in trouble for financial crunch
Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Our Correspondent

The leaders of the Khulna salt industry owners’ association warned on Sunday that only a waiver of all outstanding interest on their bank loans can save their industries. Mollah Shahidul Islam, general secretary of the association, read out the written speech at a press conference at the Khulna Press Club, in the presence of the association leaders.

In the speech, Shahidul said that the salt factories are in dire straits due to a financial crunch and among 38 salt factories in Khulna with only 8 factories running properly. He claimed that among the mills which have been operational since 1983, about 24 factories have already closed due to financial crunch and 35,000 workers and labourers have already become jobless.

He said that if the banks do not waive the interest on their loans, the operational factories may face closure and large numbers of workers will become jobless. Shahidul alleged that a 2001 meeting among ministry officials, banks’ representatives, and salt factory owners at the industries ministry decided to waive the interest on loans to salt industries but the government-owned Janata and Agrani banks are yet to implement the decision.

He alleged that both the banks are now harassing the factory owners and are lodging cases against them branding them as loan defaulters in order to recover the loans with interest. He demanded that the 2001 decision be implemented and that the industry owners should be protected from the banks’ harassment if they are to keep their factories running.

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