Agartala, Mar 9 (UNI) A large number of Indian industrialists in Bangladesh turned their eyes to Tripura, after Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated 1.9 km long double lane bridge – Maitri Setu over River Feni, connecting Tripura with Chittagong sea port on Tuesday.
Over 800 Indians mostly from Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka have set up garment factories in and around Dhaka and exporting hosiery garments across the globe through South Asian market, taking the shipping facilities of Chittagong sea port.
Interestingly, the raw materials for these factories in Bangladesh, functional for over a decade, which produce the finished product are mostly sourced from India and China.
The Indian garment factories have employed more than a lakh Bangladeshi labourers, mostly women. Also, almost an equal number of people are engaged in tertiary jobs of the industries including
transportation of goods. In turn, Bangladesh government has offered export incentive support, ranging from10 to 25 percent to the overseas industrialists, besides, other investment friendly steps, which pulled Indian investors to Bangladesh.
Methew C J, an Indian industrialist in Dhaka, running a number of garment factories told UNI, “I have been doing production for the past five years in Bangladesh but haven’t faced agitation or strike for a single day. Neither Bangladesh administration nor their citizens created any inconvenience so far to make me feel that I shoul wind up my business here. We are well respected in Bangladesh.”
However, after inauguration of Maitri Setu, it has appeared as an opportunity for Indian factory owners to explore the possibility of setting up similar type of production units in Tripura, Methew stated, adding that at present they are bringing raw materials from Chittagong port to Bangladeshi factories by covering a distance of 300 km and the finish products are also transported in the same way.
“If we set up factories somewhere in South or West Tripura, bringing raw materials and exporting finished products via Chittagong sea port would be easier, less expensive and time effective, provided Tripura government or Central government create investment friendly atmosphere, keep factories away from politics and offer us export incentive,” Methew underlined.
Since garment industry is basically run by women workers and Tripura doesn’t lack such a resource, after a short term training by some international brands with basic infrastructure, factories can start functioning if government assures investment friendly offers.
The Indian investors in Bangladesh have no problem in starting new business in Tripura and other states of northeast after getting access to Chittagong port for South Asian markets, Methew opined. “Almost every month, business owners like me come to Agartala to shop household items, cosmetics and watch Indian movies in multiplex using visa. Whenever we visit our home, we have to cross the border and board aircraft from Agartala. So, doing business from any town in Tripura would be preferable for us,” Methew added. Another Indian industrialist in Dhaka, Kavir Nelson noted, “Bangladesh regulates transport fuel pricing whereas in India it is dynamic. The fuel price in Bangladesh is not changing for past many years but in India it is changing daily.” When we get export order from any country, a factory in Bangladesh can calculate the bidding price to be effective even for six months because price index will remain same, he pointed out. From accepting order to shipping the consignment, cost of production or transportation would
not change but it is little risky in India, Nelson opined. Northeastern states have some investment incentive policies which are still not enough to give confidence to the business community unless there is regulatory mechanism.