DHANGADHI, Jan 17: With the formation of the provincial government, the demand for heavy equipment in Sudur Paschim province has risen sharply.
“Only a few heavy equipment were available in previous years. It has been two-three years since the demand has risen sharply,” said Dan Singh Badaila, secretary-general of the Far Western Heavy Equipment Entrepreneurs’ Association.
While the Heavy Duty Division of the government had been fulfilling the requirements of the construction and rental companies in the previous years, the increasing demand for the equipment by non-regular purchasers like consumers’ committees and ‘society improvement committees’ has made it difficult to do so.
Badaila further said, “There are about a hundred rental companies in Sudur Paschim Province alone. I also do the rental business of heavy equipment like excavators, road rollers, and loaders.” The rental business in Sudur Paschim Province is very lucrative. Per hour cost of renting an excavator ranges anywhere between Rs 1,800 to Rs 2,600. The hourly cost of renting a loader ranges from Rs 800 to Rs 1, 200 while that of a roller ranges from Rs 10,000 to Rs 14,000.
Laxman Saud, the coordinator of the Far Western Heavy Equipment Entrepreneurs’ Association said that construction works used to depend solely on rented equipment in the previous years. He added, “Now, almost every construction company owns equipment of their own”.
Construction entrepreneur Lokendra Bista said, “With the decentralization of the power of government to local bodies in the villages, the availability of heavy equipment in the villages has also increased.” He also said that the increasing use and demand for heavy equipment is an indicator of the fast-paced and quality infrastructure development. With the increasing number of rented equipment at disposal, construction companies are able to use them productively for a longer time.
Badaila said, “Heavy equipment are being mobilized by the provincial and local governments for several construction activities”. He also informed that there are about 700 heavy equipment businesses in Sudur Paschim and they possess about 2,000 pieces of heavy equipment. Construction of six-lane road, Ranijamara Kulariya Irrigation Project, Mahakali Irrigation Project, Seti Highway, Mahakali Highway and Mid-Hill highway are moving forward smoothly.
The heavy equipment businesses in Sudur Paschim Province is worth around Rs 12 billion. The cost of heavy equipment ranges from Rs 3 million and Rs 40 million, with piling machine costing the highest amount. Since the customs charge for the import of heavy equipment is just four percent, entrepreneurs are able to purchase it at a reasonable price. Badaila said, “The loader costing Rs 4.3 million in India can be purchased in Rs 4.2 million in Nepal itself.” He further said that 3,000 people have been directly employed because of the increasing business of heavy equipment.
The only challenge to the heavy equipment business in the current scenario is the lack of maintenance and repair facilities in Nepal. Parts of the machines are not found easily in the Nepali market and importing a specific part from India costs a lot. Badaila also said, “Ninety percent of the operators do not have a license. Since the government has not opened a license exam for heavy equipment operators, it is difficult for them to get insurance.”