Khulna as a prospect of Bangladesh: conceptual strategic framework towards sustainable re-invention of the industrial city

Khulna was known as industrial city – Many jute -paper industries was active -economy was healthy. many industries shut down .Khulna is the third largest city in Bangladesh. It is located on the banks of the Rupsha and Bhairab rivers in Khulna District. It is the divisional headquarters of Khulna Division and a major industrial and commercial center. It has a seaport named Mongla on its outskirts, 38 km from Khulna City. The population of the city, under the jurisdiction of the City Corporation, was 1,000,000 in 2010 estimation. The wider Statistical Metropolitan Area had at the same time an estimated population of 1,435,422.

Khulna is the largest jute industrial city in Bangladesh. Since the inception as an industrial city in erstwhile East Pakistan in the early 1950s, it had been experiencing flourishing industrial development with rapid urbanization, and tremendous rise of population up to 1970s. However, during the last three decades, the de-nationalization policies and lack of government support resulted in continuous decline of the industries.
Consequently, irregular procurement of raw jute, mismanagement, lack of investment in maintenance, and widespread corruption resulted in rapid decay of the socio-economic and physical conditions of the industrial areas. Owing to the contribution of the sector in national socio-economic development, and recognizing the prospects of jute and jute goods as environmentally friendly products in the global market, the present government has decided to implement policies to revive the jute-based industries. Revival of the jute industries has significant strategic planning implications. To this end, this paper presents and evaluates the declining state of the jute industries in relation to the policies adopted under different political regimes. This paper also attempts to investigate the key socioeconomic and physical planning issues towards sustainable re-invention of the jute industrial areas. Finally, the paper develops a conceptual strategic framework towards sustainable re-invention of the industrial city.

Factorial :

Khulna, the industrial city of Bangladesh, has been experiencing rapid urbanization and tremendous rise of population since 50s. Under the Pakistan government Khulna knew a flourishing industrial development. After independence of Bangladesh in 1971, almost all the jute mills in Khulna were nationalized as State Owned Enterprises (SOE) with an aim to strengthen the industry’s contribution to the national socio-economic development.
However, during the last three decades, the political shift from the democratic to military regimes coupled with the policies pursued by the successive governments resulted in rapid decline of the industries. The changing political context and local/global political economy also added to the process. Decline of industries has aggravated the socioeconomic and physical conditions of the industrial areas especially the workers housing and the surrounding urban areas of the jute industrial belt. Partial or full closure, lease out, and lay-off of the jute mills have made thousand of workers jobless and other hundreds of retailers to close their business dependent on the industries. In such a context, the present government has drafted a new industrial policy (2010) that indicates to invest more in the SOEs, reopen and revive the closed jute industries. Given this recent policy change, the jute sector is now been undergoing yet another reform. However, revival of the declined jute industries necessitates sustainable re-invention strategies. To this end this study attempts to investigate the policy measures and their impacts on the
jute industries under different political regimes. Owing to the sheer volume of the multifaceted urban problems of Khulna, before postulating anything about the possible re-invention options of the industrial areas, it is crucial to have an in-depth understanding of the city problematic within the industrial areas. Regarding the research setting, this research attempts to investigate two interrelated issues – 1) industrial policy and its impact on the jute mills; and 2) socio-economic and physical conditions of the decayed industrial areas. The main research question posed by the research is – “What should be the planning strategies towards comprehensive re-invention of the declined jute industrial areas?” In order to address the research issues, the investigation includes both
theoretical and empirical endeavors to produce a comprehensive knowledge base. The research approach consists of a policy analysis, stakeholder’s interview, and field survey.Statistical data are collected from the mill authority’s reports and other relevant documents. The expected outcome of the research is a comprehensive strategic planning
framework for the sustainable re-invention of the state owned jute industries that includes
1) issue specific physical planning implications; and 2) a conceptual strategic framework
for sustainable re-invention of the decayed industrial areas.