News & Updates

22 July 2015

Source: The Financial Express

Jute board recommends use of geo-textile in road construction

With the National Jute Board strongly recommending the use of geo-textile for road construction, the R6,500-crore Indian jute industry could hope for a revival. The application of jute for protection of river banks, beds of waterways, stabilization of embankments and slopes can be a real game-changer for the ailing jute industry, which has been witnessing random closures and labour unrest in the past few years.

The National Jute Board (NJB), Bihar government’s rural works department and the Indian Jute Mills Association (IJMA) has endorsed the use of geo-textile in Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY).

Geotextiles are permeable fabrics which, when used in association with soil, have the ability to separate, filter, reinforce, protect, or drain. Bihar would be the first state to make use of jute geotextile in PMGSY and the state has arrived at this decision after holding workshops with NJB, IJMA and more than 100 civil engineers, Vinay Kumar, secretary for rural works department, government of Bihar said.

The jute industry has urged the Bihar government to make use of jute geo-textile mandatory in at least 15% of the state’s rural road construction under PMGSY, since using jute in about 200 projects across the country has proved to be cost-effective and beneficial in road construction, river bank protection as well as hill slope stabilization, IJMA director general Subhakriti Majumdar said. Though, the jute industry’s main production area is packaging, if the golden fibre is not used in an innovative way the jute industry would not survive under competition from the synthetic packaging industry, he added.

The Centre’s standing advisory committee on jute has been long advocating dilution of the Jute Packaging Materials (Compulsory Use in Packaging Commodities) Act 1987.

Although successive governments have not been to absolutely dilute this Act, the governments have gradually reduced procurement of jute packaging materials like sacks for Food Corporation India (FCI) for packing grains. A finance ministry note has recommended dilution and a full phase out of the Act within next two years, which means the industry is being led towards complete extinction. A textile ministry official said while Bihar is looking at innovative ways to save the jute industry since most of the workers engaged in the jute mills are from Bihar.

22 July 2015

Source: The Daily Star

Good prices bring smile to Lalmonirhat jute growers

Farmers in Lalmonirhat are happy as they are getting good prices of jute in the local markets this year.

Jute production in the district fell by around 50 percent due to heavy rain during the growing stage, said farmers and agriculture officials.

Farmers said they are getting Tk 2,500 to Tk 2,700 for one maund of jute, while the price was only Tk 700 to Tk 800 last year. Due to loss from jute farming last year, many farmers didn't cultivate the crop this year, they added.

“I got only 15 maunds of jute fiber from two bighas of land this year, though I got 30 maunds last year from the same land,” jute grower Iman Ali, 48, of Khatamari village in Lalmonirhat Sadar upazila said, adding that he got only Tk 21 thousand for 30 maunds of jute last year, but he got Tk 39 thousand for 15 maunds this year.

Sources in the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) in Lalmonirhat said jute was grown on only 4,263 hectares of land in the district this year, whereas it was 6,763 hectares last year.

Nesarul Islam, 55, a farmer at Bongram village, said he cultivated jute on four bighas of land last year, but grew it on only two bighas this year. “I have already earned Tk 13 thousand from selling 5 maunds of jute, and I am hoping to earn Tk 27 to Tk 28 thousand from selling the rest 11 maunds,” he said.

Nazrul Islam, 60, a farmer at Doljor village of Aditmari upazila, said they spend Tk 5 to Tk 6 thousand for jute farming on one bigha of land. “Jute farming is profitable, if we get market price of over Tk 1,500 per maund,” he added.

21 July 2015

Source: Prothom Alo

Jute industry in disarray

The initiative to bring back the golden days of the jute sector has become a burden for the government.

The management organisation of the five government jute mills, Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC) is in trouble after reopening the mills and appointing 35,000 permanent workers from 2011 to 2013. Now they have 22,000 extra workers, which have a spending of Tk 250 crore every year. BJMC is also facing a loss of Tk 70 to 80 crore per year for not getting the allocated money during the peak season.

The downtrend in the international market is also added to the crisis. BJMC faced a loss of Tk 450 crore in the 2014-15 fiscal, which is the highest in the previous years. In the last two years, the loss was Tk 326 crore.

BJMC has submitted a report to the textile and jute ministry and the finance ministry identifying the reasons behind the huge loss.

According to the report, BJMC asked for Tk 500 crore from the government during March-April in 2014-15 fiscal to buy jute from the market.

The government approved the money on 16 June. It will take till July to get the money disbursed. However, June-July is the peak season for buying jute. Now the jute would be bought in August-September where BJMC has to spend additional Tk 70 crore for the purpose.

In addition, salary of 4,000 officials and employees and wages of 67,000 workers of the jute mills under BJMC are still due. There is also a due of Tk 350 crore for the pension and gratuity fund of the 5,700 retired workers and employees.

Motijheel BJMC office is receiving applications on a daily basis for the dues for the treatment of wife’s cancer, daughter’s marriage and also describing the dying personal conditions of the employees. The letters also contain recommendations of ministers, parliament members and local Awami League leaders. But the BJMC officials are returning their requests showing cause of insufficient funds.

Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) executive director professor Mustafizur Rahman said, “The jute sector is the most sensitive matter for the history of Bangladesh and for the rural economy. The sector is bleeding for lack of proper planning and entrepreneurship. At the starting, only we said that it will be contrary, the way government is appointing workers at a large scale and reopening the big jute mills without any planning. And that is what has happened.”

BJMC sources said, a total of 22,520 workers have no work among the 35,000 permanent workers appointed during the present government’s tenure. Almost 90 per cent of the 67,000 workers have been made permanent. Only one-third of the production capacity or the looms of 26 jute mills is in use. Others are closed. However, Tk 250 crore is being spent on the workers each year.

On the other hand, the government gave Tk 105 crore in 2011 to bring back the golden days of the jute sector and it was spent only to start the three closed jute mills.

BJMC spent Tk 70 crore from its own fund to start the other two jute mills. All the jute mills along with those five are now in crisis for the additional workers and they are unable to sell their products.

BJMC chairman Major General (retd) Humayun Khaled told Prothom Alo that lives and livelihood of four crore people are related with the country’s jute sector. One crore jute farmers are guaranteed to sale their jute as long as the government jute mills are working. As a result, government assistance is needed to retain the jute mills.

The jute farmers and the small businessmen who are dependent on the government jute mills are suffering alike. They are not getting the price or the bills after providing jute worth Tk 100 crore to the jute mills.

BJMC in the starting of the current fiscal (2015-16) aimed to buy jute worth Tk 1,000 crore. The government however gave only Tk 100 crore just before the Eid and said it is not possible to give more. As a result, the old dues are still not cleared and this year jute has been bought in credit.

State minister for textile and jute Mirza Azam told Prothom Alo, “We have taken a 10 year action plan to make the jute sector a profitable one. We are planning to modernise the jute mills and to sell the unused lands of the jute mills to obtain some fund. There won’t be any crisis in the jute mills after these plans are implemented.”

Various government officials said the government was initiating a masterplan to revive the jute sector. But the plan did not see the light. Now the government is again saying about a 10-year action plan.

20 July 2015

Source: Mydigitalfc.com

Order delay, lack of debt support cause depression on jute counter

Attempts are being made to promote jute geotextile which can revive the ailing sector

Jute mills have voiced concerns over the delay in getting orders for gunny bags from Food Corporation of India (FCI) and the state procurement agencies in Punjab and Chhattisgarh.

They have also expressed concern over the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) not heeding their pleas for improving the attitude of banks towards the traditional industry. Although the apex bank has declined to intercede on their behalf, the Indian Banks Asso­ciation has maintained that the jute industry already gets loans at cheaper rates compared with other industries under certain schemes and banks are free to finance new machinery for the industry subject to viability of such proposals. This is not something the beleaguered industry has been looking forward to.

Indian Jute Mills As­sociation chairman Ragh­avendra Gupta, in a letter to RBI governor Raghuram Rajan, said, “Due to the old inhibitions and wrong perceptions, proposals of various jute mills are not being encouraged by banks and even where loans are sanctioned, the rate of interest is generally higher than in other industries… The jute sector is not looked at favourably by most financial institutions and commercial banks and a lot of questions about the industry’s viability are raised when companies approach banks for working capital loans and other credit facilities.”

On the brighter side, attempts have been made to promote jute geotextile (JGT) of late, and industry officials and analysts feel if implemented across different projects in rural and urban India, JGT will prove to be an effective solution for reviving the ailing sector.

The National Jute Board (NJB) under the Union ministry of textiles and the rural works department of the government of Bihar in association with Indian Jute Mills Association (IJMA) have jointly endorsed the use of jutegeotextile (JGT) for construction of roads under the pradhan mantri gram sadak yojana (PMGSY) in Bihar. Moves are afoot by these organisations to highlight and project the need and utility of jute geotextile and its efficiency in the protection of banks and beds of waterways, strengthening of roads, stabilisation of embankments, management of slopes, consolidation of soft soil and other soil-related engineering applications.

“We are overwhelmed by the positive response from the Bihar government towards jute geotextile (JGT). More than 100 civil engineers attended a recent workshop in this regard. It shows that innovation and efficiency of the technology of using jute geotextile has earned significant support in Bihar. The jute industry has also urged the government to expedite the use of jute geotextile in at least 15 per cent of the road construction undertaken by the pradhan mantri gram sadak yojana, as using this product in about 200 projects across India has been found to be beneficial and cost effective in road construction, river bank protection as well as hill slope stabilisation. We hope the Bihar government will take cognisance of the use of jute geotextile and implement it in rural infrastructure,” said Subhakriti Majumdar, director general, Indian Jute Mills Association.

The non-resident over­seas association of Bengal (NROAB) has also been working towards revival of the jute industry in the east, by finding markets for JGT and other diversified, fashionable jute products across West Asia. The entire West Asia is looking for environment-friendly solutions and, therefore, it is the right time to promote JGT in those countries. That’s exactly what NROAB is doing, said Nilangshu Dey, president of Doha-headquartered NROAB.

JGT can be tailor-made to suit site-specific technical requirements. It is environment-friendly and is cheapest among all varieties of geotextiles available in India at present. Extensive studies with over 200 field applications (in road construction, river bank construction, slope management and use in railways) have demonstrated the effectiveness of JGT in strengthening road sub-grade, preventing soil erosion on river banks and superficial soil control on all types of slopes of hills, roads, railways and flood embankments.

Analysts feel JGT scores over other materials bec­ause of its eco-friendliness, water absorption capacity, drapability and price competitiveness. And it has the potential to restore the health to India’s jute sector, which engages more than 45 lakh farming families and 3.5 lakh workers, mostly in the eastern part.

18 July 2015

Source: Times of India

Jute-bag racket busted, linked to price fall

KOLKATA: The price of a jute bag, as declared by the jute commissioner, is Rs 43. But it only costs Rs 34.67 in the open market.

The jute commissioner's office (under the textile ministry) has busted a racket that was supplying unbranded bags at half the stipulated price by siphoning the product from the government supply chain.

The government, the biggest buyer, procures eight to nine metric tonnes bags spending Rs 4,500 crore to Rs 5,000 crore annually. To counter the cheaper synthetic bags, the Jute Packaging Materials Act (JPM Act) was enacted in 1987. So, 90 % of food grains and 20% sugar are mandatorily packed in jute sacks.

TOI has accessed a report that exposes the modus operandi behind the devaluation of jute bags. "All stakeholders — from mill owners, procuring agencies that obtain the sacks for packing food grains and government officials — are involved in the organized racket," said Gouri Shankar Jain, who has filed an RTI on this.

A bag carries the names of the mill, procuring agency, the crop's production year etc. Five hundred bags are packed inside a bale which also bears the same information. The mill owners first bribe the directorate of quality assurance (DQA) inspectors, who, instead of embossing, pass the unbranded bales that are dispatched on trucks and railway wagons to railheads of the procuring states.

According to the report, the agents make a killing by selling the bags in private markets of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Odisha and West Bengal. Manufacturers and mill owners purchase these bags at lower rates and sell it to the government, which pays for new bags and gets the recycled ones.

On June 1, a truck carrying 30,000 jute bags was detained at Bhoraj check post in Telangana. Jute commissioner officers from Kolkata went there and found that a consignor had used a truck (No. PB13AL7657) to send bags he had bought for Rs 20 each.

The top layer of the truck had loose bundles, each carrying 25 unmarked jute bags. Below them were bales (with 500 bags each). Printed on the bale wrapper was HAFED, which stands for Haryana State Cooperative Supply and Marketing Federation Limited, a government procuring agency. The truck with the consignment was seized by the officers of local Jainath police station at Adilabad. The jute commissioner's office lodged a complaint with Jainath police on June 21.

Jute commissioner Subrata Gupta said, "This will serve as a major lead to the entire illegal operation that devaluates jute bags."

17 July 2015

Source: Reuters

TABLE-Bangladesh jute report - July 16

Rates supplied by the Bangladesh Jute Association

JUTE

VARIETY BALES FOB Narayanganj

(One bale = 180 kg) (Taka per bale)

Ready Position (in taka) Bangla white special (BW special) 13,600 Bangla white A (BWA) 13,300 Bangla white B (BWB) 12,400 Bangla white C (BWC) 10,900 Bangla white D (BWD) 10,600 Bangla white E (BWE) 10,300 Bangla tossa special (BTS) 14,200 Bangla tossa A (BTA) 13,900 Bangla tossa B (BTB) 13,000 Bangla tossa C (BTC) 11,500 Bangla tossa D (BTD) 11,200 Bangla tossa E (BTE) 10,900

WRS/TRS, HABIJABI, CUT ROPES Bangla white rejection (BWR) 8,750 Bangla white habijabi (BWH) 6,800 Bangla tossa rejection (BTR) 9,000 Bangla tossa habijabi (BTH) 6,800

CUTTINGS Bangla white cuttings A (BWCA) 6,300 Bangla white cuttings B (BWCB) 6,100 Bangla tossa cuttings A (BTCA) 6,600 Bangla tossa cuttings B (BTCB) 6,400

MESHTA Meshta special 13,600 Meshta A 13,300 Meshta B 12,400 Meshta C 10,900 Special meshta cuttings 6,300 Ordinary meshta cuttings 6,100 Meshta- SMR 8,500

STATE OF THE MARKET--REMARKS Quality - good Condition - fair Narayanganj imports - About 2,000 Qntl. Daulatpur imports - About 5,000 Qntl. Market trend - As usual

NOTE Raw jute exports during 2013-2014 (01.07.2014 to 31.05.2015) = 778,035 bales Value 6.32 billion taka ($1 = 77.80 taka) Source: Bangladesh Jute Association, Dhaka +880-2-9552916, Narayanganj +880-2-7630904

17 July 2015

Source: Dhaka Tribune

BJMC gets Tk100cr to procure raw jute

The government has provided Tk100 crore as loan to Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation to disburse among its 26 jute mills for raw jute procurement from cultivators across the country.

The corporation, however, sought Tk700 crore to buy the golden fibre during the July-August peak season.

Finance Division has promised to disburse another Tk100 crore from the government exchequer after Eid-ul-fitr holidays, according to official sources.

Textiles and jute ministry officials said the biggest problem the state-owned companies had been facing for years was that it could not buy raw jute in time.

The peak season to buy raw jute is July-August and purchase after the season sees a 50% rise in price.

Finance Division officials said the jute ministry had sought fund just two days before Eid holidays began for immediate use like payment of workers’ wages to avert agitation.

Earlier, BJMC chairman Humayun Khaled said the state-owned jute mills would not be able to procure any of raw jute from market due to fund shortage whereas the private mills were piling it on.

“We are running our mills at half of their 700 tonnes-a-day capacity for want of raw jute,” he said.

11 July 2015

Source: Business Standard

Govt to ban firms supplying imported jute bags

The Ministry of Textiles (MoT) has warned that companies supplying imported jute bags for government procurements will be blacklisted for two years and will face criminal proceedings.

The Jute Commissioner has said that even if a single jute bag being supplied to the government is found to be procured from abroad, action will be taken against owners and directors of the company, an official statement said today.

The warning follows reports of unscrupulous traders and organisations importing B-Twill sacking and cloth from Bangladesh or Nepal and using them in government procurements.

The statement said such supply of sackcloth procured from abroad or sacking manufactured from imported yarn/cloth are strictly prohibited as it violates the JPM Act, 1987.

Such trade adversely affects the domestic market consisting of lakhs of jute mill workers and cultivators. It also leads to diversion of government subsidy in procurement of jute sacking and benefits unintended parties, the government said here today.

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