DHAKA: Jamdani Saree is a rich heritage of Bangladesh and lack of supervision, absence of capital and fall down of export have forced the country’s rich tradition on the verge of extinction.
Bangladesh Jamdani Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BJMEA) has claimed that if 25 percent cash incentives are provided and smuggling could be checked then export door will be opened for this morbid exportable item.
Simultaneously, the organization has demanded loan of Tk 10 crore with less interest for the Jamdani owners.
According to a BJMEA source, Jamdani Saree was exported to India, USA, Dubai, England and other some countries since 1992.
Foreign exchange to the tune of Tk 250 crore was earned during the period of 1992-2001 by exporting Jamdani. Government also earned crores of money as revenue from this export. Only in India 80 percent was exported.
It was further learnt that government introduced 25 percent cash incentives on Jamdani export. But in 1998 without any visible reason the cash incentives was reduced to 15 percent from 25 percent.
Within the next two years the cash incentives was brought down to only 5 percent. Due to reduction of incentives the export of Jamdani practically stopped from 2006-2007 fiscal.
Because the 5 percent incentives rendered the exporters to financial losses. That resulted the closure of many factories making thousands of Jamdani weavers jobless.
According to BJMEA sources, after the stop of export a few factories continued manufacturing Jamdani to keep up the heritage alive which is being sold in the local markets.
However for the last few years from September 26 to October 2 a few Jamdani are being sold in the Jamdani exhibition held at Kolkata High Commission office premises. For that purpose few manufacturers make Jamdani.
There is allegation that a vested quarter has forced the government to withdraw incentives for stopping Jamdani export. The allegation was brought against the local handloom saree owners for this misdeed.
Recently BJMEA has put allegations to NBR that some dishonest exporters of Tangail and Pabna are secretly smuggling out Jamdani saree in the cartoons of Tangail saree.
In the allegation it was told that these exporters showing handloom saree at the rate of 3 dollar export.
They actually export Jamdani in the name of handloom saree. In exchange, they are taking a commission of Tk 125 in collusion with the Indian importers through a secret arrangement.
The dishonest exporters declared their items as the handloom sarees of Tangail, Pabna and Sirajganj but practically they export Jamdani procuring from Demra, Noapara, Rupganj, Sonargaon and Kanchpur.
These traders insert Jamdani in the packets of handloom and smuggled those to India. A handloom saree costs only Taka 1100 to 1200 hundred while a Jamdani costs Taka 4 thousand to 8 thousand.
Through declaration of only three dollars they are smuggling out Jamdani costing 40-50 dollars. About 103 Jamdani exporters are facing financial losses. The government is also losing several crores of revenue earnings.
It is learnt that on July 17 of 2012 the representatives of Jamdani manufacturers met Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to stop smuggling out of Jamdani and thereby to save this industry from ruination.
Instantly the PM instructed the Handloom Board to take measures but the Board did not take yet any tangible measure in this direction.
To bring back the past glory of Jamdani the concerned organization has demanded special allocation in the national budget.
The demands included 25 percent cash incentives, Taka 10 crore loan with simple interest, stopping of Jamdani smuggling, training centers for design and special allocation for the industry.
BJMEA president MR Mostaq told banglanews that on the bank of Shitalakhya river this industry has grown up. India despite many attempts could not make this priceless product. But our some dishonest exporters export this valuable item to India while the Indian traders re-export those to other countries.
He further alleged that due to smuggling and reduction of incentives this industry is facing acute hardship making its existence at stake. They left no stone unturned to save this industry as the dishonest exporters are very much influential, he said.
There will be a revolution in Jamdani industry if our demands of Taka 10 crore loan and 25 percent cash incentives are met, he observes.
Now we are making some new products of Punjabi, Fatua and neck tie by Jamdani. If we get help and assistance of the government and NBR then through exports of these items including saree there will be a revolution, he claimed.
These new products are of very good quality and will definitely create popularity in the local market.
In the present situation only 5 percent cash incentives are given like other common sarees. But if we want to bring back the glory of two hundred years and also to export three more new items we need 25 percent cash incentives.
NBR chairman Golam Hossain told Banglanews that the proposal of providing cash incentives for saving this industry is under serious consideration of the government. The Government will also be informed to take steps for stop smuggling of Jamdani, he added.
BDST: 1400 HRS, MAY 15, 2014