UDAYAPUR, Dec 29: Workers of Udayapur Cement Industry have opposed the government decision of privatizing the state-owned cement factory.
Different trade unions of workers have the Prime Minister, Minister for Finance and Minister for Industry to immediately stop the process. They have event sent a team of representatives to the Ministry of Industry to discuss the issue.
Chakra Karki, president of a trade union affiliated to CPN (Maoist-Center) said that all workers of the factory have demanded to stop the process of privatizing the government-owned cement factory. Karki also alleged that the previous government led by KP Oli had started the privatization process to 'serve the vested interest of mafias'. “We have requested the Prime Minister, Minister for Industry and Minster for Finance to stop the process as the decision will completely destroy the government-owned cement factory,” he added.
All the trade unions in the factory have sent a joint memorandum to the Prime Minster, Minister for Industry and Minister for Finance.
According to the workers, the erstwhile Minister for Industry, Som Prasad Pandey, started the process of privatizing the industry on May 17 last year.
Nabal Kishor Shah, deputy general manager of the industry, said that all the workers and their trade unions have demanded to stop the privatization process.
Udayapur Cement Industry has the capacity to produce 800 tons of cement on a daily basis. It was established in 1987 with the financial support of Rs 6 billion from the Japanese government.
The industry produces one of the best quality cement in the country. But being a government-run industry, it has not been able to face stiff competition in the market.
The industry has accumulated loss of Rs 3.71 million till the end of 2014/15. Likewise, it has borrowed Rs 2.21 billion from the government.
According to Nepal Cement Manufacturers Association, the cement industry of Nepal is growing at the rate of 8-10 percent in the past few years. But the demand has now growth as expected after the earthquake, according to the association.
Development of organized housing and physical infrastructure, including hydropower projects, has flourished cement industry in Nepal in the past decade. Consumption of cement has increased to 3.5 million tons per year in Nepal. Domestic companies have to capacity to meet 80 percent of the market demand, according to the association. "Due to abundant reserve of limestone and technological advancement, it is possible to produce around 5 million tons per year,” the association added.