In efforts to expedite the tannery relocation process from Hazaribagh to Savar, the Bangladeshi government has declared that from 1 April , raw hides won’t be permitted to be delivered to tanneries in the Hazaribagh area. It’s also a measure to prevent further river pollution, officials said.

The decision was made during an inter-ministerial meeting, headed by shipping minister Shahjahan Khan, and emphasised that nearby rivers were being polluted, mostly due to discharge tanneries. The meeting also concluded to increase public awareness and enforcement to stop pollution.

A ‘crash programme’ will be taken in coordination with all the ministries concerned in order to speed up the tannery relocation programme, which has neglected to meet several deadlines.

"Relocation is not possible before June due to the delay in constructing central effluent treatment plant (CETP) and getting other utility connections at Savar Tannery Estate," said Shaheen Ahmed, chairman of Bangladesh Tanners Association, adding that the government should discuss the issue with concerned stakeholders before taking any decision.

By June, up to 40 tanneries would be relocated to Savar and start production, he added. Yet the wet blue process from the zone was supposed to begin by March.

There is increasing urgency for the relocation as international buyers of Bangladeshi leather products are increasing their demand for cleaner manufacturing practices.

Bangladesh exported leather and leather goods worth $ 1.13 billion in the 2014-15 financial year, making it the second highest contributor to national exports after the apparel industry, according to the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB).