Although nearly four years and three months have already passed since the deadline for the relocation of tanneries from Hazaribagh to Savar, many important works of the project like Central Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) and solid waste management have not yet been completed or handed over. The delay is hampering production and export. The situation is a growing concern among tannery owners in Savar ahead of Eid-ul-Azha, the second largest Muslim festival, as around 50% of the total rawhides collected throughout the year come during the Eid period.

Sources said, leather exports are being disrupted due to the incompletion of the project works at the Savar tannery industry. Some 222 tanneries were shifted from Hazaribagh to Savar by the order of the High Court on April 8 in 2017.

Insiders said, a large number of animals are slaughtered in the country every year including in the Eid-ul-Azha, but tannery owners’ demand is low to buy rawhides due to poor export facilities. In addition, some extra skins are deposited to the traders during Eid. The price of raw hides also goes down as the amount being produced from sacrificial animals is higher than the demand. Sellers are being forced to sell the leather at a lower price.

Meanwhile, the dumping of tannery waste in public spaces is seriously polluting the environment in Savar, just as it did in Hazaribagh. In one study, the Department of the Environment found the presence of excess chromium and other chemicals surrounding the rivers. Tannery waste is now merging with rainwater and entering houses. In addition, even in the dry season, bad odours spread. Residents at the nearby Dhaleshwari river have complained that the fishes are dying every day.