Work to build infrastructure for cement factories yet to gain pace

Published On: February 22, 2017 10:30 PM NPT By: Santosh Neupane  | @santyneupane

KATHMANDU, Feb 22: The government has made a commitment to build necessary infrastructures to facilitate cement industries having their own clinker plant. The pace of building such infrastructures has remained disappointingly slow.

Eight years ago, the government took a policy decision to provide facilities like electricity and access road, among other infrastructures, to facilitate cement industries. Nearly two dozen cement industries have come into operation since then. But the government has not translated its commitment into action.

In the mid-term review of the current fiscal year, the government said that it was implementing the decision to build road to limestone mine of 24 cement industries. Similarly, it is in the process of approving a program to build substation and expand transmission line to 18 cement industries.

According to Ananda Kesari Pokharel, an under-secretary with the Planning Department of the Ministry of Finance, Rs 660 million has been allocated to build access road in the current fiscal year.

Likewise, Pokharel said that an additional Rs 540 million has been allocated to expand transmission line.

“The program could not be implemented in time as the ministry was unable to allocate huge chunk of money for the purpose at a go,” Pokharel added.

According to finance ministry officials, Department of Roads (DoR) is building access roads, while Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) is building substation and transmission lines. As the government only builds only graveled road, it gets damaged rainy season.

“The program would be effective if road is graveled and blacktopped simultaneously,” added Pokharel.

The government has already build access roads for Nigale Cement, Suvashri Agni Cement, Cosmos Cement, Dang Cement, Sonapur Cement, Ghorahi Cement, United Cement, Bhardeu Cement, Butwal Cement, Sarbottam Cement and Palpa Cement, among others.

According to a report prepared by the finance ministry last year, more than 60 percent work of building access roads for cement industries has already been completed.

The government has been allocating budget to build access roads and transmission lines for cement industries every year. But it doesn't have any guideline to ascertain whether a cement industry is qualified for the facility.

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