2k factories fall silent in industrial heartland

- SHANKAR ACHARYA, Parsa

Nov 28, 2015-

Nearly 2,000 factories in the country’s industrial heartland, the Bara-Parsa Industrial Corridor, have been shut down due to lack of raw materials as shipments from India have stopped due to the Tarai unrest. 

Only a handful of factories using locally available raw materials are presently in operation. The protests in the Tarai plains have lasted more than 100 days and there is no sign of an end. 

Industrialists have complained that the government has not shown any seriousness in resolving the crisis. “Factories are bearing the brunt of the strike and the trade embargo imposed by India,” said a member of the Birgunj Chamber of Commerce and Industry. 

Industrial production has plunged. In addition, a fuel crisis has hit the transportation sector hard, preventing manufacturers from shipping their products to market. “We have been affected in multiple ways. Banks and financial institutions have been pressing us to repay loans and interest,” said Pradeep Kedia, president of the Birgunj Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “Many factories are on the verge of going bankrupt,” he said, adding that manufacturers were unable to repay their loans as business had fallen sharply. 

Many industrialists have been urging the government to consider waiving interest for a certain period. “The government understands the plight of all the other sectors but not ours,” said a Birgunj-based industrialist. 

Industrialists said that factories operating in the industrial corridor were incurring losses amounting to Rs600 million daily due to the strike. The total losses of the factories in the industrial corridor have swelled to Rs60 billion in the last three months. 

The private sector said that the government and the protesters had not understood the sentiments of the business sector. Large amounts of goods have been piling up at the dry port as they cannot be removed for lack of fuel. 

Himalayan Terminal, which manages the dry port, has announced waiving warehouse charges and container parking fees. However, there has been no announcement by the government of a much anticipated relief package for the private sector. 

Meanwhile, a dozen cement factories have been shut down due to a shortage of raw materials.

Nigale Cement shuts down

DHANKUTA: Nigale Cement Industry in Dhankuta has closed due to lack of fuel to operate its plant. The factory requires around 4,000 litres of fuel daily, said Dinesh Poudel, an official of the company. “As we have not received sufficient supplies and there are no alternatives, we have been forced to close the plant.” Raw materials like coal, gypsum, aluminium and limestone are also unavailable due to the trade embargo by India. The cement factory, which opened four years ago, has a capacity to produce 1,500 to 2,000 sacks of cement daily. 

Its products are mostly sold in the hill districts in the Eastern Region. With the factory stopping production, the supply of cement in places like Terhathum, Sankhuwasabha and Bhojpur have been affected. The plant employs 125 workers. (PR)

Published: 28-11-2015 09:11

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