Industrial estates in a shambles

- Jitendra Khadga, Rajbiraj

Aug 2, 2014-

Established 22 years ago, Gajerndra Narayan Singh Industrial Estate in Rajbiraj is yet to see the entry of an industry, thanks to the lack of a conducive investment environment, unavailability of raw materials and power shortage, among others.

The industrial estate was established in 1988 by the Indian government with an investment of around Rs 100 million. Spread on 22 bighas, it can accommodate 10 small industries. After a formal handover in 1994, the Nepal government took over its management.

According to Manoj Kumar Mundhada, former president of Saptari Chamber of Commerce, the estate does not have a single industry, but has been paying wages to the staffers. The government has arranged an office chief and nine other employees for the estate.

Formerly known as Rajbiraj Industrial Estate, the government changed the name to Gajendra Narayan Singh Industrial Estate after the Madhes movement in 2007.

Rajbiraj-based trader Than Singh Bhansali said it is necessary to increase investment and bring the estate into operation. Out of 22 bighas, the estate occupies only 10 bighas. The Indian government had agreed to expand it after new industries would come.

The estate has physical infrastructure like the building for a bank, postal space, health clinic, canteen and guest house, among others. However, the infrastructure is in a shambles.

Dhani Lal Mandal, chief of industrial estate, said the estate has a monthly expenditure of Rs 400,000 for staff salaries, facilities, electricity and telephone costs, and stationeries, but it does not have any source of income. “Unavailability of raw materials and lack of investment environment have discouraged industries to come,” said Mandal.

Industrialist Shita Ram Kavra said an industry inside the estate would not sustain as it would be expensive for them to procure raw materials as well as to deliver finished goods to the market. “Construction of physical infrastructure is not enough,” said Kavra. “Easy availability of raw materials, low transportation costs and easy access to the market are other prerequisites for establishing an industry.”

Meanwhile, the situation of Dharan Industrial Estate is no different.

Established around four decades ago, the income generated from the estate is not even enough to pay its 13 staffers. The estate at Tinkune is spread over 16 bighas and houses 27 industries. Due to the lack of income, the estate has failed to maintain facilities like road, electricity, water and telephone.

The estate earns Rs 2 million annually in rentals from 141 ropanies of land space and 16 buildings. “Since the industrial estate is an autonomous body, the government does not provide facilities. And our income is hardly enough to pay the wages. That’s why we have not been able to earn profits,” said Gopal Bhandari, manager of the estate.

Established in 1972 with a financial assistance from the Indian government, the industrial estate was converted into an autonomous entity by the government by forming the Industrial Management Company Limited.

In Dhankuta, despite acquiring 64 ropanies of land in 1993, the proposed Aatmaram Industrial Gram has not been developed yet.

The government spent 22 years in the name of feasibility study, pipeline expansion and road access, among others. The only thing that has happened in the past 22 years is the establishment of a watchman quarter.

(With inputs from Pradep Menyambo and Binod Ghimire)

Published: 03-08-2014 09:48

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