70 industries shut down in Sunsari

Itahari, July 1:

Frequent bandhs in the eastern Tarai have led to an acute shortage of raw materials in Sunsari forcing more than 70 units to shut down.

Sunsari secretary of the Nepal Trade Union Congress Ayyub Hussain said 50 of these units have been forced to close down due to the repeated strikes by workers and the rest have closed down due to shortage of raw materials.

Twenty rice mills, 16 brick kilns, 10 saw mills and 24 cottage industries have been closed due to scarcity of raw materials. “If the situation of ongoing bandhs continues, big industries in Khanar, Sonapur and Duhabi along Kosi highway will also be closed down,” said Hussain. According to him, soap plant in the Sonapur-based Balaju Biscuits factory is also closed. Mainawati Iron Plant and the Narsingh-based Baba Paper Mills in Sonapur have been also closed due to repeated strikes by workers.

In Khanar, along with the Dahal rice mill, some 20 other rice mills and Nepal Timber Mill are closed. Statistics from the last three months reveal that at least 176 registered industries in Sunsari district are still operating.

According to eastern region secretary of the Nepal Trade Union Congress Jyoti Koirala, most of the 176 industries are on the verge of closure. Sonapur’s Baba Biscuits and Khanar’s Pashupati Packaging plant are also closed, said Koirala, adding that transportation of raw materials is difficult due to frequent bandhs. “How can the plants be run in such a situation. The plants are not able to send their productions to the markets also.”

The dependents of hundreds of factory workers are facing problems due to the closure of the factories. “The non-organised workers’ families have no trade unions to turn to,” said Koirala. Transport workers are also facing the same situation. Trade union leaders have urged the government to find solution of the current situation at the earliest possible.