Steel factories in lower gear due to power cuts

- Madhav Dhungana, BHAIRAHAWA

May 21, 2016-

Manufacturers of iron rods in Bhairahawa have not been able to fulfil demand due to constant power outages leading to a surge in imports from India. 

The factories here have been forced to operate at 50 percent capacity because of load-shedding and unscheduled power cuts.The resulting shortage of steel reinforcement rods has also pushed up prices. Traders have been reported to be selling cheaper imported products at inflated prices. 

“We can achieve self-reliance in iron rods if we can get adequate electricity,” said Dhrubha Kumar Shrestha, chairman of the Nepal Steel Rolling Mill Association. “The decline in domestic production has resulted in imports of low-quality rods.” 

According to Shrestha, there are 16 steel mills in operation and a shortage of electricity has led to their output being slashed in half.The price of iron rods has increased by Rs10 per kg. Although imported products cost Rs2 less, traders have been selling them at the same price as Nepali products. Some factories have been found to be selling imported rods by affixing their brands to them.

“Our production has dropped to zero because of frequent and long power cuts and low voltage,” said Gopal Goyanka, operator of Goyanka Steel Rolling. “Our factory has not been able to produce more than 100 tonnes per day for the last four months despite a production capacity of 300 tonnes.”   The reconstruction of structures damaged by the earthquake and resumption of work at various national projects have increased demand for construction materials in recent days.

Published: 21-05-2016 09:19

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