Hetauda Cement facing shortage of limestone

- PRATAP BISTA, Hetauda

Jan 24, 2018-

Hetauda Cement Factory is facing a shortage of limestone, an important raw material used in the manufacture of cement, as locals have prevented mining at the company’s Majuwa mine over various demands. 

The mine located in Makwanpurgadhi Rural Municipality-5 has been inoperational as residents have been making various demands. The state-owned cement factory has awarded a contract to extract limestone from the Majuwa mine and transport it to the factory, but the contractor has not been able to start work. 

Managing director of Hetauda Cement Prem Shankar Singh said, “Since the contract has already been awarded, the factory is having a hard time as protesting locals have hindered the contractor from mining limestone.” 

The contractor Om Sai Construction has to deliver 150,000 tonnes of limestone to the factory, but it has not been able to do so even after four months of receiving the order. Limestone extracted from the Jogimara or Majuwa mines needs to be added to the limestone mined at the Bhainse mine to produce quality cement. 

As transportation costs from Jogimara are higher than from Majuwa, the company has awarded a contract to supply limestone from the Majuwa mine starting this year. 

Board chairman of Hetauda Cement Raghu Raman Neupane said, “Although the contract process has already been finalized, limestone cannot be shipped due to obstruction by local protestors. Even after repeated talks, no agreement has been reached.” 

Om Sai Construction has demanded Rs19.2 million in compensation as no work has been allowed to be done at the Majuwa mine.  The factory acquired 386 ropanis of land along with the houses on it near the Majuwa mine. Locals have occupied the place to conduct various activities even though it has been possessed by the factory. 

Deputy General Manager Mukunda Baniya said that the road leading to the Majuwa mine had been blocked by the protestors.  Residents have been adamant in preventing extraction of limestone even though Hetauda Cement has agreed to acquire the necessary land, spend Rs30 million received from the government for road construction through related agencies and construct a school building. 

The company has also promised to protect water sources from pollution, prevent dust from spreading, utilize local manpower and provide the tax collected to the rural municipality as per the law. He said, “Locals have made outlandish demands such as food security guarantee and permanent physical infrastructure. How can the company address such demands?” 

Hetauda Cement requires 1,000 tonnes of limestone daily. If limestone cannot be extracted from the Majuwa mine, the factory could come to a stop due to lack of limestone in the rainy season. 

Limestone is required to produce clinker, which is an important intermediate component to manufacture cement. Even though Nepal has immense limestone deposits, it is unable to exploit them and has to import a large amount of limestone-based clinker from India.

Published: 24-01-2018 09:21

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