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Bangladesh Economic & Infrastructure Development - Updates & Discussions

Bilal9

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Industries bustle again as 90% RMG workers rejoin work
A seemingly never-ending tide of people is still returning to the capital from across the country
Photo: Salahuddin Ahmed/TBS



The workers, who risked their lives to get home during Eid holidays, pushed through immense ordeals to return to Dhaka and its surrounding areas on just a day's notice

Industrial zones across Bangladesh – especially the readymade garment (RMG) factories – began buzzing with activities on Sunday, just a day after the government decided to reopen export-oriented industries amid the Covid-19 restrictions.

The workers, who risked their lives to get home during Eid holidays, pushed through immense ordeals to return to their workplaces in Dhaka and its surrounding areas on just a day's notice – reigniting a heated debate about the concerned parties' reported lack of coordination.

A seemingly never-ending tide of people is still returning to the capital from across the country.
Addressing the circumstances, Health Minister Zahid Maleque told the media that Covid-19 infections will rise in Bangladesh as RMG factories reopened amid the stricter lockdown measures.

Photo: Salahuddin Ahmed/TBS



"People from different parts of the country rejoined their workplaces as RMG factories reopened on Sunday. Infections will rise because hygiene rules are not being followed," he said after attending the inaugural function of First Year MBBS Class (2020-21) in Dhaka.

The majority of export-oriented factories belong to the RMG sector. Several apparel makers and workers' leaders told The Business Standard that 85%-90% workers were present at their respective workplaces on the first day of factory reopening.

On the issue, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) President Faruque Hassan said, "Some factories even reported a workers' attendance of 95%. We are optimistic about restarting work in full swing if restrictions are relaxed after 5 August."

Around 90% workers rejoined their workplaces at the BMGEA's member factories in Chattogram, said the organisation's First Vice President Syed Nazrul Islam.

Around 2,000 active factories are BGMEA members, while there are 800 active members in the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA).

BKMEA Vice President, and also CEO of Fatullah Apparels, Fazlee Shamim Ehsan said, "Eighty-seven percent workers rejoined my factory. Besides, 85%-90% workers rejoined their respective workplaces in BKMEA's member factories.

"We plan to go full steam ahead in the next two-three days."

Photo: Salahuddin Ahmed/TBS


However, some factories reported a workers' attendance below 80%. Rashed Mosharraf, executive director (marketing) of Zaber & Zubair Fabrics – one of the largest home textile exporters in the country, says the workers' attendance at his factory was below this mark too.

National Garments Workers and Employees Association's President Sirajul Islam Rony said, "Nearly 90% of the workers showed up at factories on Sunday. Just like before, factories are offering hand washing facilities and enforcing mask rules.

"We have not heard any complaints from the workers so far."

After the countrywide Covid-19 lockdown ended on 14 July this year, the government announced another lockdown from 23 July to 5 August. The government also decided to shut down all factories excluding those making essential goods and personal protective equipment.

The government decision – which resulted in 18-20 days of holiday – raised concerns among the export-oriented industry owners. Apparel makers then approached the government voicing worries about possible losses in exports and facing the financial burden of high air freight costs.

Photo: Salahuddin Ahmed/TBS


Following that announcement, waves of workers left their workplaces for home to celebrate Eid-al-Adha with their families. According to workers' leaders, more than 20 lakh RMG workers left Dhaka during that time.

The government on 30 July announced that the export-oriented factories will be allowed to reopen amid the stricter lockdown from 1 August. However, parties concerned offered no solutions on how these workers will return to their workplaces.

Since Saturday morning, workers of RMG and many other sectors began their long and arduous journey back to their workplaces on trucks, covered vans, auto-rickshaws and even on foot. Workers braved torrential rain and paid multiple times the usual fair to return to work.

This current chain of events has become a matter of hot debate across the country, as many empathised with the workers' ordeals.

According to data provided by the Industrial Police, 61% of the 8,226 factories in Bangladesh's six industrial zones operated on Sunday. The government is allowing only a selected group of factories to operate amid the lockdown – including the export-oriented ones.

A senior official of the Industrial Police, on condition of anonymity, told The Business Standard that the factories that are now operating have been exempted from the lockdown restrictions.

Photo: Salahuddin Ahmed/TBS


Members of the BGMEA, BKMEA, Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA) and factories under the Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority are mainly involved in exports.

Data shows that among the 3,074 factories belonging to the above mentioned categories, 2,662 or 86% operated on Sunday. Besides, from other sectors, 3,051 of the 5,152 factories ran operations yesterday.
 

Bilal9

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Noodles market growing rapidly amid urbanisation, pandemic
Busy work / life changes have greatly raised the market demand for noodles, prompting many local and foreign conglomerates to invest in this sector



The market for noodles – a very popular snack item – has expanded rapidly in Bangladesh in the last few years due to rapid growth and urbanization. Also with restaurants closed under Covid-19 restrictions, entrepreneurs both here and abroad are keen to explore the market potential for noodles.

The noodle market in Bangladesh is worth around Tk.1,000 crore
, and it has shown an annual growth rate of about 10% in the last few years. But the growth jumped to around 16% during the pandemic with many people staying home, for the most part, industry insiders told The Business Standard.

Along with the growth in the local market, exports grew too – increasing 25% in FY2020-21, year-on-year.
Urbanisation and people's work and lifestyle have brought the boom naturally to the noodles market. Seeing the steady growth in demand, a number of large conglomerates, both local and foreign, have invested in this market, say insiders.

Aside from giants like Nestlé, Cocola, Pran-RFL, Bashundhara, Square, and Ifad, a number of smaller companies have also entered the Bangladeshi noodles market.

On the matter, Pran-RFL's Director of Marketing, Kamruzzaman Kamal, said, "When people stay home, they tend to snack more. Noodles are a very popular snack item, and it can be prepared quickly.
"This is why the noodles market is booming at this time."

Pran's Mr Noodles is one of the most popular noodle brands in Bangladesh.

There are two types of noodles available in the local market – instant and stick noodles. The demand for instant noodles is higher in the country, as they can be prepared relatively quickly. 60% of all noodles sold in the market are instant noodles.

Some brands of instant noodles come pre-packaged with vegetables, meat, spices and eggs, and people just need to add hot water and its ready to eat. Stick noodles are more cumbersome. They have to be boiled and mixed with vegetables, meat, or eggs, which also have to be cooked before serving.

Nestlé Bangladesh's Maggi is the market leader in the instant noodles category, with a 30% market share.
Nestlé Bangladesh's Corporate Affairs Director Naquib Khan says, "The instant noodle market is growing and Maggi is driving the growth. Its purpose is to be an ally of consumers in their kitchens, to help them cook tasty and healthy food they love.

"In the last couple of years, Maggi has launched Maggi Masala Blast, Maggi Fusian Bangkok Sweet Chilli noodles. Masala Blast delivers a very exciting spicy taste to teens and youths, especially those who have grown up with Masala Maggi."

He continued, "Maggi always comes up with exciting new tastes for Bangladeshi consumers. Bangkok Sweet Chilli is a new type of noodle which is very popular in Bangkok. Maggi brought this noodle for food enthusiastic youths of Bangladesh under a new brand called Maggi Fusian."

Aside from Nestlé Bangladesh and Pran-RFL, Cocola also holds a good share of the noodle market in Bangladesh. Bashundhara Group brought their brand of noodles to market recently, and Kolson is also marketing their brand in a bid to boost their market share.

Collectively, data from noodle companies indicate they sold more than Tk1,000 crore worth of noodles in Bangladesh in 2019, say insiders.

People had to cut back on going to restaurants during the Covid-19 crisis, which in turn gave popularity to home-cooked food items that can be prepared quickly. Industry insiders say the noodles market will go up by another Tk200 crore by the end of this year.

The Chopstick brand of instant noodles – owned by Square Food & Beverage Ltd – does not have any MSG or tasting salts.

"We were anxious that schools and colleges closing in the pandemic would adversely impact the noodles market, but instead, our sales have increased," said Parvej Saiful Islam, CFO of the company.
 

Bilal9

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350 Type Tested Panels to be Designed and Manufactured for Dhaka Metro Rail
Publish Date:
07/13/2020
350 Type Tested Panels to be Designed and Manufactured for Dhaka Metro Rail


Energypac Engineering to provide both medium and low voltage panels to the momentous Dhaka Metro Rail Project. Energypac is Bangladesh’s first licensed ABB type tested panel assembler, and the panels will be wholly designed and manufactured in house.
 

ALShill

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Less cars will just mean more traffic jams for public transportation lol
One bus can carry many people compared to how much space each person would take up if they were in cars. Since when does the NYC metro jam? Its not physically possible.
Honestly SC should just give up, our cities are shit and it's not going to change

I see two solutions

A - develop new cities right next to old and also build new cities (In Pak there's plan to build a new city next to Lahore, also building new city like Gawadar, Islamabad was a new city with grid)

Build suburbs, basically people in suburbs wouldn't need to come into the city for anything, everything important is available in suburbs, like downtown wouldn't be as important

In Lahore infrastructure like highway, public transportation, ring road's connects the suburbs with each other and because of that most do not depend on old city for anything making travelling easy for everyone in the city

So maybe making suburbs independent, building them from scratch with a plan and than connecting them can also be another option

But fixing old cities in SC is very hard imo
Pakistan's urban design in some ways is really bad way too much suburbanization its just repeating the mistakes Americans made in their urban planning when it should try to learn from them. The big issue with this idea is that it would only works when implemented properly. From looking at some cities on google earth it seems like the suburbs already made and in development are low density single family homes which isn't the best. The goal should be to have high density suburbs which connect to the main city via public transport. The new city you were talking about in Lahore seems to be what I was talking about. It looks like a good idea from the renderings so far
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Bilal9

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Envoy Textiles retains all facilities for workers in pandemic

Even though the company’s business fell at an alarming rate, it did not lay off any workers

Envoy Textiles’ multipurpose training and audio visual center, which has 118 seats, also used as theatre hall. File Photo- Salauddin Ahmed Paulash/TBS

Envoy Textiles’ multipurpose training and audio visual center, which has 118 seats, also used as theatre hall. File Photo- Salauddin Ahmed Paulash/TBS

Mymensingh's Envoy Textiles Limited is the world's first platinum LEED-certified factory. During the pandemic, the company's business decreased at an alarming rate, but it did not lay off any workers despite having a shortage of work orders.

Instead, the company paid its workers' full salary from the stimulus package provided by the government.

While keeping the factory open in compliance with the health rules, the company has continued to provide free accommodation, subsidised lunch, and free snacks while bearing all medical expenses. The factory also has a 24-hour medical centre along with some 30 other facilities.

Regarding this, Kutubuddin Ahmed, chairman of Envoy Textile, said, "The workers and officials working at this factory are a part of my family and one cannot abandon their family in any catastrophic situation.

Instead, you need to take better care of your family during trying times. And, I did the same and the government's incentive package helped me in this regard."

"The business is going through a tough time due to the pandemic but this will not last forever. And, my workers are the driving force of my company," Ahmed added.

Talking to The Business Standard, Md Nazrul Islam who is working as an Assistant Operator at Envoy Textiles Limited said that even during the crisis brought upon by Covid-19, they were calm because they knew that the company will stand by the workers.

"During the first few months of the pandemic, 100% salary was paid on time and after the opening of the factory, other facilities were also continued in compliance with the hygiene rules," he added.

Envoy's employees are also included in the company's profit-sharing facility.

Tushar Roy who joined the company in 2013 as a Junior Assistant as a fresher is now working as a supervisor.

"This is my first job and I want to work here for the rest of my career," Roy said.

He informed that despite the business downturn due to Covid-19, the company received a profit bonus for the last financial year.

The company, situated on a 50-acre site at Bhaluka in Mymensingh, has modern accommodation for workers. Of the company's 2650 employees, 1,200 live there rent-free.

However, the company Chairman said that no new accommodation is being arranged currently due to Covid-19.

Founded in 2005, the company is one of the most environmentally friendly denim mill companies in the world. The company started commercial production in 2008.

Envoy Group Chairman Kutubuddin Ahmed said, "We have to run our mills for survival. The monthly loss of Tk2 crore is better than facing bigger losses by rejecting any order or suspending production."

"Our monthly average export was about $9.1 million earlier, which now stands at about $6.5 million. We have to confirm orders at rates below the production cost to run our factories," he added.
 

chinasun

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Bangladesh has good governance, stable government, sustained political calm, sound macroeconomic policies and correct development priorities. Let it continue to be one of the fastest growing countries in the world in the future.
 

Bilal9

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Bangladesh Homegrown Steel company Mcdonald Steel Building Products Limited (MSBPL) is executing the Roof framing and membrane cover of all stations (16 Stations) of First Dhaka Mass Rapid Transit Development Project Line-6 with the scopes of,
  1. Design review,
  2. Detailing,
  3. Fabrication and
  4. Erection
under Ital-Thai, Thailand (CP 03-04), Tekken-AML-Abenikko JV (CP 05) and Sumitomo-Ital-Thai JV (CP 06).

Although this is not their first such project, this is their first Metro Transport Station project, which is a first for the country as well. This is a great addition to their portfolio, through which they will be able to get work for similar projects at home and also overseas.

 

Bilal9

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Bangladesh Military Museum.
Architect: Bayezid Mahbub Khandaker.
Place: Bijoy Sarani, near Old Tejgaon Airport, Dhaka








Water Dept. (WASA) Building

 

Bilal9

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Coordinated Complex of Public Libraries and National Museum at Shahbag | DCON CUBE JV
| Architecture | Monument | Museum | Project |
|Total Views: 6,951|
| 7 December, 17 |



Water court © DCON CUBE JVWater court © DCON CUBE JV

The site originally has the existing museum located at the north. The structure of the museum is kept as it is; instead the functions of the central court are being relocated to enhance the quality of space. An elongated library building has been placed at the south of the site with the ventilation and perforation to achieve maximum daylights and air in order to serve the required functions. The plaza and the open space connects to the museum that floats on a water body to which the annex building is connected. The annex building is functioning as storage facility for the complex. The idea to place the annex building to the west is to cut down the maximum heat from west. Large void has been inserted in the annex building in such a manner to ensure the north south ventilation through the void. The annex and museum has been fused with large water body and amphitheatre with a auditorium beneath.
Open spaces connecting one built form to another provide more breathing spaces and visual connectivity, hence ensure better indoor-outdoor relationship. Large slope of green has been introduced with the city face to create a smooth and flowing landscape which may serve the user for relaxing and casual gathering. Thus it offers a soft and lively urban public space.
The central plaza © DCON CUBE JVThe central plaza © DCON CUBE JV© DCON CUBE JV© DCON CUBE JVLibrary building facing the central plaza © DCON CUBE JVLibrary building facing the central plaza © DCON CUBE JVCircular court in the central plaza © DCON CUBE JVCircular court in the central plaza © DCON CUBE JV
Interior of the public library © DCON CUBE JVInterior of the public library © DCON CUBE JV© DCON CUBE JV© DCON CUBE JVe-library © DCON CUBE JVe-library © DCON CUBE JV
Reincarnation of the rural lifestyle: The circular court in the central plaza is a metaphor of rural gathering place surrounding a large banyan tree. Functionally this works as a place for public events and social gathering .
Interpretation of the riverine territory: The use of water in the design is to portray the riverine territory of Bangladesh which adds to the environmental value of the site. This water court serves to minimize the heat level by creating a micro-climate.
House of multi-disciplinary events: The outdoor spaces play a pivotal role in serving the locality and its people by hosting multi-events such as, exhibitions, mela, haat and other forms of cultural activities.
Layering of user realm: In the design, the ground layer is used for vehicular movement, parking and administrative offices. The pedestrian movements are in two different layers which do not allow the functions to overlap. The first floor has been dedicated to the plaza which united the built forms and transformed it into a public gathering and sharing spaces.
Museum central lobby © DCON CUBE JVMuseum central lobby © DCON CUBE JV © DCON CUBE JV © DCON CUBE JVMuseum gallery © DCON CUBE JVMuseum gallery © DCON CUBE JV© DCON CUBE JV© DCON CUBE JV
 

Bilal9

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Incorporating a Lightweight Structure – Beximco Learning and Development Center
Abesh Mehjabeen
July, 2021

The Beximco Learning and Development Center, as an extension speaks volumes through its structure and design. The learning and development center is a core part of the Beximco as a company. Hence, for a coherent and organic learning process, the structure has been designed to stimulate higher efficiency, contributing positively to mental and physical well-being; while being aesthetically pleasing to the eyes.


Beximco Pharmaceuticals Limited is one of the most eminent pharmaceutical companies in Bangladesh. Their contribution to the pharmacy sector is immense. Being a thriving company, they have extended their expertise to build a learning and development center. The Beximco Learning and Development Center is an extension project to the existing Beximco Pharmaceuticals Limited Production building. The robust yet light structured establishment was designed by Dehsar Works, by the lead architect, Rashed H. Chowdhury, and his team.

While extending the learning and development center, the design team could not obtain some information on the Beximco Pharmaceuticals Limited production building. As the existing building was an old building, it was difficult to trace the structural members out and after quite a lot of studies, the design team decided to come up with a lightweight structural solution which will rest on the peripheral end of the existing building.


Keeping the structure ultra light, as it appears after the completion of the project, has been a driving factor since the inception of the concept.
It gives off an airy feel from the very look of it.
The concept of the building has been very strategically executed, keeping several factors in mind. One of the primary concerns of the design team was to incorporate the idea of IEQ, as in, “Indoor Environment Quality”.

It deals with the factors of air quality, but also access to daylight and views, pleasant acoustic conditions and occupant control along with lighting and thermal comfort. Just like keeping it light in structure was crucial, so was maintaining these aspects. A competent architectural establishment takes into account more than just the beautified outlook. How a design might affect the mind and body plays a vital role as well.

As the site is east-west facing, the amount of heat gain after building the extension may affect the environment of the building. Therefore, in terms of Beximco Learning and Development Center, the team had put an effort to use the daylight in the most benefitting way. To ensure an ambient lighting condition, a light aperture has been incorporated in the roof structure.

The basic function of the project was accommodating the training office, lecture theater, library and archive. The interior is kept minimal to complement the airy architecture. The colour palette is kept neutral, leaning towards white, off-white, black and grey, with pop of reds here and there. The long meeting and office desks, office chairs are off-whites paired with white pendant lights. The lounge area has a combination of white sofas, and mid-century modern lounge chairs, all arranged in sections.

Furthermore, the lecture theater consists of rows of desks and chairs, where each desk is set with two chairs.
Since we tend to spend most part of our day at our workplaces, it is very important to ensure a healthy environment.

Ample natural lighting provision has been created to keep our body clock aligned with the environment.

The diurnal light colour temperature also helps to improve the health condition of the occupant. Keeping all these factors in mind, the space came into being. The design elements itself helped form the visual language of the project. The structural solution is truly a part of the design expression.



Rashed Chowdhury

Architect Profile
Architect Rashed Chowdhury is a practicing architect and the founder of Dehsar Works (DW), a design lab that focuses on a myriad of experimental works including architecture, interior design, book design electronic design etc. They are a team of young architects, designers and thinkers operating within the fields of architecture, urbanism, research, and communication design. They have earned a reputation for innovative design and climatically responsive solutions. DW has recently won the 30th JK Cement AYA (young architect award) in foreign architects award category, for their Blues Communications project.
 

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