Handmade paper being prepared at Shivaj Agriculture (Handmade) Factory in Laharepauwa, Rasuwa. Photo: HIMNATH DEVKOTA/Republica
RASUWA, Feb 22: A handmade paper industry in the district, which was shut 14 years ago at the height of the Maoist insurgency, is preparing to resume operation.
The promoters of Jhikuri Nepali Handmade Paper Industry of Dandagaun in Uttar Gaya Rural Municipality-2 are preparing to resume operation, 14 years after the industry was shut.
The small-scale industry had been earning Rs 420,000 annually before it shut operation. Formally established in 1990, the study had started operation in 1993.
Talking with Republica, Tritha Gurung, proprietor of Jhikuri Nepali Handmade Paper Industry, said he had to close the factory 14 years ago due to activities of Maoist guerrillas. “My factory was close to a school which was set on fire by the Maoists in 2002. When Maoists further intensified their activities, I had no option but to shut down the factory,” Gurung told Republica.
Gurung was the chairman of the management committee of Dandagaun Secondary School and member of Dandagaun Village Development Committee when the incident happened.
“When peace prevailed, I did not have time to renew my license. I have finally renewed my license now,” he added.
Lokta, the raw materials for handmade paper, is found in abundance in nearby private and community forests.
“Market is also good now. Price of Nepali handmade paper has increased now,” he said.
A sheet of Nepali paper used to fetch Rs 1.5-2 back then. Now, a sheet of paper is sold for Rs 3-4. It is expected to increase further,” he added.
His factory used to produce 10,000 sheets of paper per day. Gurung had started the business with an investment of Rs 150,000.
Three handmade paper factories are registered with the Cottage and Small Industries Development Committee in the district. Of them, only one of them is in operation at present. Handmade paper produced in the district is supplied to Kathmandu Valley.
Khagendra Nepali, senior industrial officer of the committee, said that the committee can provide technical support to industries. “We can even deploy technicians in the field to help the entrepreneurs,” he added.