Bashundhara Group, a leading business conglomerate in the country, launched Bangladesh’s first private sector bitumen plant at Pangaon in Keraniganj on Saturday.
Built with state-of-the-art technology, Bashundhara Bitumen Plant will be able to produce 0.9 million tonnes of bitumen and asphalt annually by 2021, said a press release on Sunday.
After meeting the country’s annual demand for 0.5 million tonnes, the plant will export the road construction material to other countries. Bituminous materials or asphalts are extensively used in road construction.
Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal inaugurated the plant as chief guest while State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid, Bashundhara Group Chairman Ahmed Akbar Sobhan, Co-Chairman Sadat Sobhan Tanvir, Vice-Chairman Shafiat Sobhan Sanvir and Managing Director Sayem Sobhan Anvir were present.
Keraniganj Upazila Chairman Shahin Ahmed and top officials of Bashundhara Group were also present on the occasion.
Bangladesh is largely dependent on imported bitumen and its monthly demand is around 42,000 tonnes. The demand is growing at an average rate of 10-15 per cent annually.
Addressing the event, Ahmed Akbar Sobhan said Bashundhara Group will soon create employment opportunities for 300,000 people in a new industrial unit.
Bashundhara Group under its new concern Bashundhara Oil and Gas Company Ltd has established the plant. In addition to producing commonly used penetration grades road bitumen, the plant has the facility to produce premium modified grades of bitumen upon demand.
The plant has the capacity to produce bitumen grades such as Cutback, Emulsified, Oxidized and Polymer (SBS, Rubber Powder) and customized as per clients’ required specifications.
Also, usual penetration grades (60-70/80-100) and modified grades can be produced and supplied upon demand from this plant. Fuel oil and some other by-products to be produced in the plant will be sold or disposed of to appropriate clientele.
The Bashundhara Group chairman also said the group has around 30 concerns in various sectors and has built two mega housing projects.
Praising the role of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in promoting industrialisation and economic development, he said the Prime Minister always encourages the establishment of new business ventures.
“She always advises us to build new businesses and assures us of providing all sorts of supports,” said Ahmed Akbar Sobhan.
Praising the initiative of establishing the bitumen plant in the private sector, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said this initiative has solved the country’s obstacles to getting quality bitumen for constructing roads and highways.
Terming the initiative ahead of ‘Mujib Barsho’ a unique one, Mustafa Kamal said this venture is aligned with the dream of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
“We have been facing issues with imported bitumen– we never got the bitumen that matches our weather. We tried our best but failed to find any solution to that problem. Our roads and highways tend to get damaged earlier than expected,” he said.
Mentioning that Bangladesh imports 90 per cent of its bitumen demand, Bashundhara Group has opened up a new opportunity to end dependency on bitumen import.
State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid said Bashundhara Group has created large-scale employment opportunities in many sectors.
“They are doing all these not only for making profits, but also for the wellbeing of the country and its people,” he said.
Assuring necessary support to Bashundhara Group for further business expansion in Keraniganj, he said such ventures are deeply connected with the development of Keraniganj.
Established in 1987, Bashundhara Group has become a large conglomerate directly employing a workforce not less than 50,000 and indirectly engaging the livelihoods of half a million people.