Complaint filed against upcoming soap factory

Pokhara

Jul 22, 2014-

Pokhara Soap Industry has got embroiled in a legal dispute as it enters the final stage of construction. A neighbouring biscuit factory Pokhara Foods has filed a complaint against Pokhara Soap stating that the by-products released in the course of manufacturing soap would affect its products.

Pokhara Soap was established with an investment of Rs 27.5 million about nine months ago. The factory situated within the Pokhara Industrial Estate is almost ready to start production and market promotion. However, it has not been given an electricity connection after Pokhara Foods filed the complaint at the Ministry of Industry.

Jib Nath Paudel, chairman of Pokhara Soap, claimed that their production would not hamper the operation of factories nearby. “The boundary wall separating two factory premises ensures that the operation of one will not affect the other,” he said. Citing an example of similar factories operating at the Biratnagar Industrial Estate, Paudel accused old factories of trying to give them a hard time.

According to Paudel, the factory was scheduled to start manufacturing by mid-July. It has a production capacity of 4 tons of soap daily and is expected to provide direct employment to 25-30 people.

Pokhara Soap has acquired permits from both the Office of the Company Registrar and the Office of Cottage and Small Industries. Its authorised capital is Rs 30 million while it’s paid-up capital is Rs 25 million. Kavi Raj Subedi, general manager of the factory, said they had fulfilled all the legal formalities to operate the production plant.

The conflict between Pokhara Soap and Pokhara Foods started after the Pokhara Industrial Estate permitted the soap factory to be established near Pokhara Foods. The five ropanis of land on which the soap factory has been erected used to be occupied by LT Construction Materials. The management of the industrial estate had written to the Office of Cottage and Small Industries for registration after giving the go-ahead to the soap factory. Two months ago, Hari Pandey, proprietor of Pokhara Foods and a previous state minister, had filed a complaint with the Ministry of Industry that the foul smell emitted during soap production would contaminate their food products. Pandey is reported to have expanded his production plant into the area near where the soap factory has been built.

Subedi of Pokhara Soap said Pandey’s move was designed to harass a newly emerging firm. “Although everybody new from the beginning that a soap factory was being built, they have put up obstacles now when the factory is about to launch its products,” he added.

However, Pandey said that a settlement was being worked out. “There will be reconciliation.”

Acting Manager of the Pokhara Industrial Estate Nepal Bhushan Vaidya declined to comment when asked whether the soap factory would affect the biscuit factory.  “Such clashes have not been seen at any industrial estate so far. We will try to bring them to an understanding to ensure that both factories will be operated,” he added.

The Industry Ministry has formed a probe taskforce after receiving the complaint. The investigating team led by Krishna Kharel, chief of the Department of Cottage and Small Industries, includes representatives from the Ministry of Science and Technology, Department of Food Technology and Quality Control and Nepal Industrial Estate Management Office.

Published: 23-07-2014 09:14

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