The drum reads ‘Made in UAE’. These bitumen that came by sea reached all over the country. At the end of the coating fell from the road to the highway. The importers claim that the bitumen produced in the UAE is of high quality and has no adulteration. But the fact is that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) does not produce any kind of bitumen, there is no bitumen production factory. According to the investigation, the bitumen ships docked at the Emirati port by sea from Iran, a Middle Eastern country under economic sanctions. Everything bitumen is made in Iran. The rest is the work of adulteration of bitumen including labeling. Each ship anchored off the coast of the emirate, and immediately began the process of mixing various chemical-wastes, including bitumen and kerosene. Periodically labeling and adulteration. After completing the rest of the formalities, they return to their destination in Bangladesh. And millions of tons of low quality adulterated bitumen are being unloaded from Chittagong port as pure bitumen produced in the UAE. How is bitumen produced in Iran, a country with trade embargo, coming to Bangladesh through UAE? A number of shocking facts and figures have come to light in the search for Kaler Kantho, including the evidence of how low quality bitumen is being brought to the country by adulterating it with bitumen.
Experts also say that low quality bitumen is coming to Bangladesh in various ways using the name of United Arab Emirates. As a result, the roads are not standing. One road has to be repaired repeatedly. The government is spending thousands of crores of rupees. Bitumen grade determination committee president Prof. Mohammad Zakaria also said that there is a mistake in the process of importing bitumen. Where there is a risk of disgrace step by step, he is in favor of discouraging imports.
Bitumen or pitch is one of the essential elements for road construction. Domestic production is only 13 percent of the demand. A syndicate of importers has been formed to meet the remaining demand. But there are many complaints about the quality of imported bitumen. The concerned agencies of the government itself have been discouraging the import of bitumen. Most of the bitumen drums used on the roads have the name of the United Arab Emirates written on them as the producing country. Importers are saying the same thing. Kaler’s voice tries to find out who is actually the producer of this low quality bitumen. The investigation revealed that the UAE does not produce bitumen.
In the first phase of the search, I visited the website of a UAE-based bitumen exporter. The name of the company is Global Infinity General Trading FZ. According to the website, Galaxy Energy has been registered internationally since 2012. Claiming to be its Dubai-based leader in terms of bitumen exports, the company noted that they are producing about 200,000 tonnes of bitumen a year.
Then I contacted the officials of the organization as the buyer of bitumen. Sales expert and account manager Tina Taghavi highlighted the quality, price and accessories of their ‘produced’ bitumen. If you want to buy 80 to 100 grade bitumen, he said the price is 180 dollars per ton. Although they claim to have produced it themselves on the website, Tina said they have no bitumen plant anywhere in the UAE. Bitumen comes mainly from a neighboring country according to their demand. Bitumen ships came directly from Al Abbas port in Iran and landed at Jebel Ali port in UAE.
Talk to Tina on Sunday (May 23) morning. He said their brand is registered in Dubai and their company also has offices in this city. All processes related to the sale, transaction and export of bitumen are completed in Dubai. The company also has a warehouse in the city. But they do not produce bitumen. The product comes from Iran. In Dubai, it is just a matter of labeling. In order to gain credibility, he showed the documents of some LCs to Kaler Kantha, under which they have already exported Iranian bitumen to Bangladesh. Tina even mentioned their business relations with several organizations in Bangladesh. However, he did not agree to reveal the name of any organization.
Now it is the turn of communication in Iran. On Monday (May 24) at 11 am, Kaler Kantha contacted an Iranian organization. Isfahan Bitumen Production Company is located in the Seghi Industrial Zone of Isfahan, Iran. It has the capacity to produce about two lakh tons of bitumen per year. I would like to know from a sales officer of the company, how will they export bitumen in the order received from Bangladesh? He said they take care of the whole process. He said they are regularly exporting bitumen to different countries including Bangladesh. However, this cannot be done directly due to trade restrictions. So use different ports of nearby UAE. For this, they have to liaise with various suppliers based in the UAE.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh consulate sources in the UAE have also confirmed that the country does not produce bitumen. Shipments of bitumen from neighboring countries are refined after they enter the country. Then it started the process of re-exporting to different countries. According to consulate sources, refilling arrangements are in place in Abu Dhabi, Hamriyah Open Zone, Fujairah and Ajman. Bitumen is exported from UAE to different countries of Indian subcontinent including Bangladesh through various processes. Expatriate workers working for a bitumen supplier in the UAE said on condition of anonymity, “There are no bitumen factories or refineries in the UAE.” Smuggled from Iran to UAE due to trade