KHATMANDU: Imports of clinker to Nepal along the Parsa-Bara corridor from Raxaul, an Indian town located on Nepal-India border, have ceased since 22 December, after locals complained about air pollution and health hazards due to transportation of the crucial raw material used in production of cement. As an alternative, the Birgunj dry port had allowed traders to import clinker and other raw materials used in production of cement, but the government has since prevented this operation after locals of Birgunj complained of pollution.
This has left 13 cement factories in Parsa-Bara corridor without clinker, gypsum, coal and fly ash for cement manufacture. However, a few cement factories located in the corridor, such as Shalimar, are able to produce clinker. “The clinker we produce meets only 10 per cent of our demand,” said Ashok Vaidya, manager of Shalimar Cement. Factories like Shalimar have the option of increasing clinker production, but they have not been able to do so because of high cost involved in setting up of plant to produce the raw material.
“If the situation remains like this, cement factories in Birgunj will have no option but to terminate operation because clinker stored in our warehouses can only meet demand of three to 10 days,” said Umesh Chandra Thakur, managing director of Narayani Cement.