Govt. to extend cooperation for expansion of jute industry: HPM Sheikh Hasina

 

Putting emphasis on modernization of weaving industry and multipurpose use of its products, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina assured of extending all kinds of cooperation for further expansion of the industry.

"Weaving is a high quality art and our aim is to expand and modernize the industry ... we are ready to extend cooperation whatever is necessary and we would continue it for the further development of the industry," she said.

The prime minister was addressing as the chief guest the first national council of Bangladesh Tanti League at the Krishibid Institution, Bangladesh auditorium at Farmgate in the capital.

Bangladesh Tanti League Convenor Enajur Rahman Chowdhury presided over the council, while second Joint Convenor of the organisation Sadhana Das Gupta delivered the welcome address.

Awami League General Secretary and Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Qauder was present on the dais.

Member Secretary of the Council Preparatory Committee Engineer Md Shawkat Ali placed the obituary reference and the first Joint Convenor Khagen Chandra Debnath submitted the organizational report.

Earlier, the prime minister inaugurated the council of the Tanti League, the Awami League's 'tantis' (weavers) front, by hoisting the national flag and releasing pigeons. Convenor of the organisation Enajur Rahman Chowdhury raised the party flag at that time.

A minute's silence was also observed as a mark of profound respect to the memory of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and other martyrs of the August 15 carnage as well as other leaders and workers of Awami League and its associate bodies who embraced martyrdom in different movements of the country.

Spelling out her government's various steps for the development of the weaving industry, the prime minister said the government has given necessary attention to develop and enrich the industry further.

"We want to develop and enrich the industry further ... we have an attention to achieve the goal and we would do everything necessary for it," she said.

Sheikh Hasina also advised the males to wear shirts and panjabis made by the weavers, saying that these products look very beautiful.

"The females usually use sarees made by the weavers. But males could wear shirts and panjabis ... actually these products look very beautiful," she said.

In this connection, the premier pointed out that she buys shirts and panjabis made of high quality khaddar for her children.

"They like and wear those and in this way, if everybody uses such products, the weaving industry would be developed and enriched further," she said.

Sheikh Hasina also mentioned that she always wear sarees made by Bangladeshi weavers as she always tries to project the country's heritage and culture before the people.

"You have seen that after becoming the prime minister, I don't wear French chiffon ... I always wear clothes made by Bangladesh or made by local weavers whether it is cotton or synthetic, even I wear saree made from 'khaddar'," she said.

She added: "We also have kept the sarees made by Bangladeshi weavers in the list of gifts that are presented to the foreign leaders and guests."

The premier said wearing saree and lungi is not enough for the promotion of weaving industry. "There is a scope for multipurpose use of clothes made by weavers for the work at home and I hope that all will give attention to this end," she said.

Sheikh Hasina said once the people of the country lost their interest in the clothes made of cotton or made by weavers as synthetic clothes gained huge popularity at that time.

"But now the time has changed and clothes made by local weavers are getting popularity gradually," she said.

The prime minister hoped that the clothes made of khaddar would regain its popularity as it is very comfortable and stable for weather of the country.

"Once there was a huge demand of khaddar which was turned into a fashion but its demand and importance were lost gradually at the rotation of time ... I hope that khaddar would restore its past glory as it's suitable for weather," she said.

Sheikh Hasina said the clothes made by the ethnic minority communities have also been turned into a fashion due to their quality. "There is a huge demand of such clothes not only in Bangladesh, also abroad," she said.

The prime minister directed the leaders and activists of Tanti League to work for the welfare of the weavers' community.

"I want that you would give attention to the welfare and development of the people and the organisation you belong to .... it is a must, doing organization does not mean sitting idle after becoming leaders," she said.

Sheikh Hasina said the aim of her government is to build hunger and poverty-free Bangladesh based on science and modern technology. "Alongside, I think there is a need for modernizing weaving industry and making arrangement for training for the weavers," she said.

The prime minister said the Tanti League leaders and activists will have to take measures to uphold the dignity of the weavers.

"You will have to take steps so none could neglect the weavers . . . it's a responsibility of your organisation," she said.

Sheikh Hasina said she wants that the leaders and activists of the Tanti League would come forward to solve the problems of the weavers. "The government would do everything---it's not proper. You could do also work for the weavers," she said.

The prime minister said weaving industry was built in many areas of the country and quality silk was produced in Rajshahi, Thakurgaon and Chapainawabganj areas. "But those areas lost their glory due to lack of patronization and care," she said.

Sheikh Hasina said there is a huge potential for weaving industry and keeping this in mind, her previous government took steps for development of the weaving industry.

'Once the industry was much neglected, but after coming to power after 21 years, we took various initiatives for the development of the weavers," she said.

The prime minister said her government in 1996 distributed loans for the first time in the country history among the weavers.

"We are also setting up "Tant Palli" in different parts of the country including Rangpur, Madaripur and Shariatpur for development of the industry.

She said Jamdani, a traditional fabric of the country, has been recognised as a Geographical Indication (GI) product of Bangladesh due to the efforts of the government. "We are also conducting a survey and research to restore glory of the Muslin," she said.

The premier also asked the Tanti League leaders to project massively the government's successes in different sectors before the countrymen side by side with strengthening the organisation.

Photo: Saiful Islam Kallol

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