Job losses increase with closure of factories in Birgunj-Pathlaiya Corridor

Published On: March 4, 2024 08:20 PM NPT By: Upendra Yadav

BARA, March 4: The condition of the factories operating in the country's largest and oldest Birgunj-Pathlaiya Industrial Corridor has become deplorable.

Industrialists have stated that the consumption of the goods manufactured in the corridor has been decreasing day by day, making it difficult for the factories to even meet the daily expenses. There are around 1,800 small and big industries in the Birgunj-Pathlaiya Industrial Corridor.

“The condition of the industries is worsening day by day instead of improving,” said Ashok Kumar Baidya, the owner of Shalimar Cement operating in Simara and former president of Birgunj Chamber of Commerce & Industries (BiCCI), “If this situation remains, many factories will be forced to close.”

Baidya  mentioned that after the decrease in consumption in the market, it is difficult to bear the cost of operating the factory when the production decreases. Under normal conditions, Shalimar Cement used to produce 20,000 sacks of cement daily, but now only 5,000 sacks are being produced. Even with decreased production, it has become difficult to pay the workers.

Baidya said, “When the industry produced only 25 percent of cement, we had to consider paying bank installments and wages to the workers.”

Although thousands of people are directly and indirectly employed by the industries operating in the corridor, unemployment is also increasing due to the closure of industries.

Hundreds of workers working in the industry have become unemployed due to the closure of Saakha Steel Industries Private Limited located in Simara. The tea shops and hotels opened in front of the industry are also facing difficulties in operation.

Ram Babu Prasad who used to earn Rs 15,000 per month when Saakha Steel was operating, is now unemployed with the closure of the factory.

Padam Bahadur Shrestha, a 67-year-old hotel operator, stated that he used to earn up to Rs 2000 a day by selling snacks and tea for more than 20 years in front of the Saakha industry, but now he struggles to sell food worth Rs 1000 daily.

Rod manufacturing factories like Krishna, Araniko, Star, Reliance, Kalash, RMC and other cement and Hama Iron, Saakha Steel, Bhagwati Rolling, Ashok, Jagdamba, etc. operating in the corridor have completely closed down while others are operating at only 25 percent capacity.

Big industries such as Saakha, Himal, Hama, Ashok, which have been identified as high quality in the market, have relatively closed. Industrialist Baidya alleged that the government was unable to increase capital expenditure and as a result, the condition of the industries had become miserable.

The operators of Shalimar, Vishwakarma, Trishakti, Star, Reliance, and Jagdamba cement industries, which produce thousands of sacks of cement daily, only operate when orders are received and remain shut down at other times.

Even though large industries produce clinker, the raw material required for cement production in Nepal, the small ones have to import raw materials from India or buy them from big industries. Due to their inability to compete with big factories, the cement factories in the corridor are closing down.


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