India: Udayapur Cement to shut for a month

India: Udayapur Cement to shut for a month
Published: 23 April 2012

Tagged Under: Udayapur Cement India 

One of the biggest cement factories in the country built with Japanese assistance has been closed for a month for ‘maintenance work’ at a time when the demand for construction materials has been witnessing a boom.

According to a Himalayan Times report, the closure of Udayapur Cement Factory, which has a cement capacity to churn out 800tpd every day, is not a result of technical failure, as claimed by the management, but due to the shoddy management, say employees of the cement factory.

“Production at the plant was halted because a gear box stopped functioning,” said acting manager of the factory Bishwaraj Koirala. “We have almost finished repairing the gear box and will start production within one week.”

The Himalayan Times reported that company employees say that Koirala’s promises are empty. They say that the company’s finances are in a shambles and it cannot pay its employees. “The factory has been shut several times in a year citing different reasons, at times for regular maintenance and at other times on various other pretexts,” say staff.

The management admits that the factory has incurred losses of more than INR100m (US$1.9m) due to the month-long halt in production and it has not paid its employees for this month.

“We have not received our salary for a month so we are facing a tough time in making ends meet,” said Gyan Bahadur Karki, an employee at the factory. Company accountants informed that the plant is out of money. The industry has about 525 employees, including daily-wage workers, at present.

Koirala said that the company was unable to pay its staff as it was not producing cement. “We will provide salary once we start production.”

Not only employees, but businesses dealing with the factory have also been affected due to the closure. Business people who have been supplying various goods to Udayapur Cement lamented that they had not received their money from the factory for a long time.

Birgunj-based Riddhi Siddhi Traders has stopped supplying coal to the plant for some months now as the factory has not paid its outstanding dues.