First Business News Portal in English from Nepal
KATHMANDU: Eighty percent of the brick factories in the country are on the verge of collapse due to shortage of manpower because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking at a program organized by Saptari Brick Industry Association on Saturday, Arun Pradhan, secretary of the Nepal Brick Industry Entrepreneurs’ Association, said that there has been a problem in brick production as workers from West Bengal, India have stopped coming to Nepal due to the coronavirus.
He shared that although Nepali youths are being encouraged to work in the country itself, they are more interested in foreign employment as a result of which there are hardly any skilled, experienced and capable workers in the country.
Due to this, the country has been dependent on India for skilled manpower in the brick industry. Pradhan stated that the government’s announcement of providing loans at five percent interest through Nepal Rastra Bank has not been implemented yet.
Entrepreneurs involved in the brick industry also sought facility to bring the required coal for their factories through the district borders stating that the transportation cost for bringing coal from Kakarbhitta, Bhairahawa and Jogarbani is high.
They also made a commitment to produce bricks of uniform size. About 60 to 70 industrialists and a total of around 15,000 employees are engaged in around 50 brick factories in Saptari.
According to Shankar Das, vice-president of the Brick Entrepreneurs’ Association of Province 2, a factory has to pay from Rs 1.5 million to Rs1.7 million in taxes.
Citing that industrialists have been facing losses as they have to leave the bricks under the open sky during monsoon, Anoj Kumar Yadav, ward chairman of Bode Barsa in Municipality-3, demanded compensation during natural calamities.
Similarly, the newly elected president of the association, Durgananda Prasad Shah, said that only 10 percent bricks are being produced at the moment due to lack of sufficient amount of coal and also as Indian laborers have not yet returned as the Indian border has been closed for a long time due to the pandemic.
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