The nation’s first print park gets a new, bigger plan

Printers urge authorities to speed up implementation

February 02, 2022, 1:15 p.m.

Last modification: February 02, 2022, 2:24 p.m.

Nurul Islam says his entry into the printing business was a bad time.

With a monthly salary of Tk 50,000 and Tk 30 lakh upfront, he leased a print shop at Fakirapool in Dhaka in early 2020. Then came the pandemic, further crushing the print shop which had already lost its good old days.

The 1,200 square foot printing plant Mati O Manush is now struggling to survive. But Nurul Islam thinks his fight for recovery could have been fair game if he hadn’t paid through his nose for the space.

For old printing entrepreneurs and new ones like Nurul Islam, a dedicated printing industrial park is a kind of light at the end of the tunnel to escape skyrocketing rents. According to the Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (Bscic), printers will have to wait another two years for the project, which spans 100 acres of land, to be completed in Sirajdikhan Upazila in Munshiganj.

But the original plan for the 2016 project was to establish the park on 42 acres of land near the Dhaka-Mawa highway in the same upazila. Bscic struggled with land acquisition issues for five years and then moved to the new location with a bigger plan.

“The new site offers kha land at a relatively cheap price. Since there are no more neighborhoods on the demarcated site now, there will be no problem of acquisition this time,” told The Business Standard Md Nizam Uddin, Bscic Print Park Project Manager.

In the same area, Bscic is also setting up a plastic industrial city to relocate dispersed plastic manufacturing units to one place.

With the change of location, the print park project has been revised recently increasing the cost of the project to around Tk 275 crore from Tk 138 crore, while the new deadline is 2026.

Infographic: TBS

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Infographic: TBS

Nizam Uddin said that as the project site will expand, the number of plots will more than double. “However, the actual number of plots will be known after the master plan is prepared. Initially, the number of plots is expected to be 299.”

Bscic officials said the revised project proposal had been sent to the Planning Commission. Land acquisition can begin within three months of receipt of approval.

Although the revised proposal increased the total cost of land acquisition and compensation, the acquisition cost per acre was reduced.

In the initial project proposal, the cost of land acquisition and compensation per acre was estimated at over Tk 2 crore. In the revised draft, it is a Tk1 crore. However, land development expenditure increased by Tk 42 crore in the revised proposal due to the increase in land size.

Park will attract new investment, printers hope

Shahid Serneabat, chairman of Bangladesh Printing Industries Association, believes that the new park will bring more new investment into the local 12,000 Tk printing market.

Currently, printing houses supply printed items to the ready-to-wear, medical, and other export-oriented industries.

The Printing Industries Association says modern printers are located in key industrial cities such as Dhaka, Narayanganj, Chattogram, Narsingdi and Mymensingh. If the production facilities cannot be brought together in one place, the industry will not develop.

Therefore, the association decided to purchase land in Keraniganj district of Dhaka as the small printing units might not be able to move to the industrial park.

However, the president of the association said that the printing park will help the industry to mature and transform the local printing industry into an export sector.

There are now over 4,500 printing presses in Dhaka alone, while the industry employs 4 lakh people across Bangladesh. According to the authorities, the industrial park will generate employment for more than 2 lakh people.

“This decision is certainly good news for us. But the authorities should speed up the implementation,” noted Shahid Serneabat, referring to the rising rents for the space in Dhaka.

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