Nepal: Cement producers to go on strike

Nepal: Cement producers to go on strike
Published: 24 August 2010

The Cement Producers’ Association Nepal (CPAN) is planning to launch a protest programme against the Department of Commerce’s (DoC) decision to band some cement brands.

The department has directed six cement companies – Nepal Ambuja, Reliance, Agni, Narayani, Jagadamba and Butwal – to halt production on Friday after their products were found to be substandard.

The cements were below NS 49 and 385 criteria, according to the department.

The NS 49 is the composition of raw materials and NS 385 denotes compressive strength of cement.

Representatives of the association met senior officials of Department of Standard and Measurement (DoSM) and Ministry of Commerce and Supply (MoCS) yesterday. “We have informed them of our disagreement,” said Atmaram Murarka, president of CPAN that has asked the authorities to withdraw the ban.

“We urged authorities to take action but without closing industries,” he said. “We are ready to obey the law of the land.”

CPAN has also urged the authorities to include their representative in market monitoring. “We don’t know how DoC collected the samples,” he said, adding that it should be transparent.

CPAN has also objected the process of sample collection and its dissemination.  “Why the department published report to media before consulting us,” he asked. “We have not got official letter yet.”

However, the department officials reject their claim. “DoC, along with DoSM and Kathmandu District Administration Office, is involved in the decision,” said Anil Kumar Thakur, director general at the department.

“The decision is taken after consultation with concerned government authorities,” he said, adding that according to the law, the DoC need not consult industries.

“They will be brought to the book,” said Thakur, who had refused CPAN request to hold discuss yesterday.

The country’s current cement demand is around 2.5Mt. The local industry producse nearly 2Mt cement and remaining is imported from India. Nepal had imported 586,294 tonnes of cement and 649,244t of clinker from India in 2008-09.

 Source: The Himalayan