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Raw jute worth Tk 140m gutted in Rajshahi
   RAJSHAHI, January 24, 2011: Raw jute worth taka 140 million weighing about 70,000 maunds was gutted when a devastating fire engulfed a storage (godown) at Rahman Jute Mills at Alaibidirpur area under Paba Upazila of the district this afternoon. Nine units of fire servicemen after tireless effort have brought the fire under control around 5-00 pm. Till the writing of the report at 6-30, fire was still burning in places of the godown. Shieikh Mijanur Rahman, Deputy Director of Rajshahi Fire Service Department informed that the godown is a large one and a huge quantity of raw jute was stored there. As a result, it took nearly four hours to control the fire. He said, extra fire service units from Tanore, Rajshahi University and Naogaon were called to assist fire service  to douse the fire.
   Authorities of the mills informed, there was 70,000 maunds of jute stored in the godown. The source of fire could not be confirmed immediately as there was no electricity connection at the godown. Source: Financial Express
   Exports of jute goods to India face fresh blow
   Dhaka, January 20, 2011: Exports of local jute goods to India face a fresh blow as the Indian customs authority has issued a directive to charge excise duty in the form of counter vailing duty (CVD) on import of the items from Bangladesh, official and industry sources said. Indian buyers have communicated the new directive to local jute exporters including Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC) saying “Since January 18, 2011 Indian Petrapole customs have started claiming that they have received directive from higher customs authority to collect this (excise) duty against import of jute goods  from Bangladesh.”
   The duty has implication of 8.0 per cent CVD along with 4.0 per cent additional CVD and other charges of 2.0 per cent, which in total comes to around 14 per cent of the invoice value, the communication revealed. It further said imported goods were getting exemption under this same circular since 2004 but the Indian customs have suddenly started charging the duty after seven years. None of Indian mills/manufacturers/small units/sticher/weavers have to pay this 8.0 per cent excise duty in India, it said, adding until now  Indian customs authority on several occasions has declared that imported goods also need not pay this excise duty and hence such duty in the form of CVD was exempted.
   “Sudden imposition of around 14 per cent duty on imported jute goods from Bangladesh is unfair. Law of the country says that no duty shall be imposed on imported materials, that is not paid by Indian manufacturers,” an Indian buyer said in its communication to BJMC.  It is, according to the importer, a clear fact that no Indian mills/manufacturers have to pay such duty and it is only imported jute goods from Bangladesh, which have to bear this burden. Source: Financial Express
  Fire breaks out at Crescent Jute Mills
  KHULNA, Jan 14: A devastating fire broke out at state-run Crescent Jute Mills at Khalishpur industrial area in the city on Friday. Mill sources said the fire started at godown No. 12 near unit No. 3 at about 2pm.
  Receiving information, fire service personnel from Daulatpur, Khalishpur and Khulna rushed to the spot and (upto 5:30pm) were still trying to extinguish the blaze. Sources said there are about 20,000 maunds of jute in the godown. Mill sources initially assumed that the fire might have originated from power short circuit. Source: thefinancialexpress-bd.com
   Private jute mills strike called
   Dhaka, January 4, 2011 (bdnews24.com): Workers of private jute and textile mills have called off the indefinite strike from January 4, 2011 after the government assured them of a new wage structure and special allowance soon. A tripartite meeting on Monday between the government, mill owners and workers’ leaders successfully resolved the issues, averting the countrywide strike at the last moment.
  The meeting was chaired by the state minister for labour Munnuzan Sufian and attended by labour secretary Nurul Haque and owners and union leaders of a number of jute mills. The leaders of Bangladesh Private Owned Jute-Twine CBA Non-CBA Sramik League Combination Council informed the state minister of the existing wage discrimination between government and private jute mills.
  They claimed that the government mill workers get Tk 2450 a month as per the wage structure of 2006. A new wage commission has also been announced for the government-run jute mills in an effort to further increase their wage. However, the minimum wage for the privately owned mill workers is Tk 560. Although a new wage structure had been announced during the previous Awami League rule, the successive BNP government did not take any step to implement it, the councilleaders added.
   State minister Sufian said that a board has been formed to determine minimum wage structure for the private jute mill workers. It will start its operations within the next 30 days and announce the wage structure within four months. 
Govt targets to double jute production in 2011-12 season….

Inspired by the healthy production trend of jute as well as its better price and multipurpose use, the government is eying for a record production target of jute in the 2011-12 season.

In the upcoming season, some 7.5 lakh hectares of land would be brought under jute cultivation in the country aiming at producing 87.37 lakh bales, said Agriculture Information Service director Nazrul Islam. Per hectare production of jute has been projected at 10.6 bales.

The production target of jute in the upcoming season has been doubled as the farmers are now more encouraged on jute cultivation due to its rising demand as well as its increasing trend of price, he told the UNB.

The AIS director said that in the current season (2010-11), some 4.8 lakh hectares of land were brought under jute cultivation with a production of 50.76 lakh bales. Per hectare yield was 10.58 bales.

In the 2009-10 season, jute production was 49.39 lakh bales as some 4.56 lakh hectares of land were brought under cultivation. Per hectare yield was 10.83 bales.

Nazrul Islam informed that in the current fiscal, some 15 lakh farmers were provided with ribbon retting device worth Tk 30 crore and the method gained popularity among the farmers.

Bangladesh Jute Research Institute in cooperation with the Department of Agricultural Extension imparted training to the farmers on the use of ribbon retting on limited water.

According to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, jute production ranged between 40-50 lakh bales from fiscal 2004-05 to 2008-09. The production of jute was 40.35 lakh bales in 2004-05 fiscal, 46.19 lakh bales in 2005-06 fiscal, 48.84 lakh bales in 2006-07 fiscal, 46.22 lakh bales in 2007-08 fiscal and 46.78 lakh bales in 2008-09.

The local jute industry, employing about 1,50,000 workers, is now the second largest export earner after RMG.

In fiscal 2009-10, the jute sector logged 76 per cent higher earnings at $736 million (Tk 5,225 crore) than the previous year and the demand remains buoyant in the current fiscal.

In the first six months of the current fiscal (July-December), export of jute and jute goods totalled $548.66 million, showing a 58.33 per cent rise. Raw jute exports fetched $184.66 million, jute yarn and twine $248.40 million, jute sack and jute bag $92.67 million while other jute products $22.93 million.

The jute sector in the country where 40 lakh farmers are engaged is also set to reap the benefits of the packaging law passed last year.

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