Jute pulp use beckons bright future for paper production
NBPM set to use it as raw material
The government is considering reopening of the debt-ridden North Bengal Paper Mills (NBPM) after a study team found the use of jute pulp feasible for meeting its large requirement as a raw material, officials said Sunday.
The mill, also known as Paksey Paper Mill, has been closed since 2002 mainly due to the scarcity of sugarcane fibre, leaving the country to a shortage of 15,000 tonnes of yearly paper production.
Officials said Bangladesh Jute Research Institute has already submitted a report on the pre-feasibility study on the item to the Jute Ministry.
“We are hopeful of setting up one or two paper mills utilising the country’s jute pulp,” said director general of the institute Dr Mohammad Kalam Uddin.
He said the government is actively considering reopening of the inoperative North Bengal Paper Mills to help resume the mill’s operation, in terms of production.
Officials said the pulp can be produced by using the entire jute plant and a single unit, using the pulp, can produce 5000 tonnes of paper.
A preliminary estimate shows that an expenditure of US$ 5.5 million can set up the machine for using jute pulp for paper production.
A Chinese team will soon visit the country to study further the possibility of the jute pulp’s use in paper production, the officials added.
The use of Jute pulp in paper production has been getting popular in mainly Mynmar and China.
The officials said an inter-ministerial team, comprising representatives of jute and industry ministries and Jute Research Institute, visited the two countries from March 9 to 15 and found the quality of the paper to be impressive.
North Bengal Paper Mills was built on 134 acres of land with a large set-up in 1969. It went into full production in 1975 employing more than a thousand people. The reopening of the mill is also the present government’s election pledge.
The country spends more than Tk 25 billion in importing different types of papers to meet its demand for more than 550,000 tonnes.
Experts said since the jute production has been getting popular again, diversified use of jute, including that in the paper mills, can create a new enthusiasm among the crop’s growers.
Jute Ministry statistics have said the country produces around 6.0 million bales of jute yearly by cultivating it on 0.45 million hectares of land. The production and land use for the environment-friendly crop increased significantly last year, when the growers produced 8.0 million bales of jute bringing 0.8 million hectares of land under cultivation.