Print Edition - 2014-08-14 | Nation
Crusher industries’ strike delays Valley road projects
Aug 13, 2014-
City authorities had planned to give some respite to the denizens of Kathmandu by finishing road construction in the Valley before the monsoon. But they now say they are helpless and cannot give the exact date for completion of the Valley road construction project with the crusher industry on strike for nearly a month.
Protesting the government’s decision to set new criteria for operating crusher plants, the crusher industries have been halting supply of construction materials for the past few months. This has brought road construction and expansion in the Valley to a standstill.
“We are not getting the construction materials required to finish the road construction project in the Valley. We do not know when will the crusher industry resume supply of construction materials,” said Shyam Prasad Kharel, chief at the Kathmandu Valley Road Implementation Project (KVRIP).
Kharel said the government has to shift its focus on creating an amicable environment for crusher industries to supply construction materials, “or else the road construction projects we have undertaken will be halted forever.”
Although the government recently directed the crusher industries to at least supply their existing stock, the latter have refused to comply. According to government sources, an estimated 4 million cubic feet of construction materials have been stocked by these industries.
About 18 crusher industries in the central development region, have also downed their shutters to oppose the recent government decision although they meet the criteria set by the government.
Secretary at the Ministry of Physical Infrastructures and Transport (MoPIT), Tulsi Prasad Sitaula, claimed that they are making efforts get the construction materials stocked by the crusher industries into the market.
“We had a meeting to solve this serious issue and hopefully within a week we will make the crusher industries supply the construction materials they have stocked for the ongoing road construction project in the Valley,” said Sitaula.
The ministry has formed a Central Monitoring Committee and District Monitoring Committee to investigate the case and report immediately.
“Getting the construction materials stocked by crusher industries out into the market has become one of our top priorities,” added Sitaula. Before the strike, as many as 100 trucks carrying construction materials came to Kathmandu from highway entry points such as Tikabhairav, Panauti and Dhading.
Not only the KVRIP but other authorities such as the Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) and Department of Roads (DoR) have also halted their work after they ran out of the construction materials they had in their stock.
Some of the major roads hit by the strikes are Putalisadak- Sinamangal road, Dhumbarahi road, Lainchaur-Balaju road and Balkumari road section, among others.
“Some road stretches like Old Baneshwor are ready to be gravelled, as we have removed the debris and mud. But we cannot do anything due to material shortages,” said Kharel.
In April, Forest Minister Mahesh Acharya had announced that no new crusher plant would be registered until mid-June, an initial move to implement new criteria for crusher plants.
Moving the crusher industries to isolated areas of the city periphery also greatly angered the owners of crusher industries. In response, the Crusher Industry Entrepreneurs’ Association have time and again stopped the supply of construction materials such as sand, stone and gravel.
Expressing solidarity to their protest, the Federation of Contractor’s Association of Nepal had said the government’s attempt to implement new criteria without providing an alternative to the operators of crusher plants would adversely affect infrastructure development and construction works in the Valley.
Published: 14-08-2014 09:35