Cement grading plan fails to make it to govt’s priority list

Kathmandu, October 27

The long-awaited plan of the government to grade domestic cement brands has been lingering since more than a year due to the government’s failure to prioritise the issue.

Consequently, Nepal Bureau of Standards and Metrology (NBSM) — the government body authorised to grade domestic cement brands and provide quality certifications accordingly — has not made any substantial progress in executing this plan. NBSM was supposed to begin the process to issue quality certification to domestic cement brands by February-end.

Due to lack of quality certification and effective grading, domestic cement brands are finding it difficult to compete with Indian cement brands. As big projects seek quality certification of cements, such projects have been consuming Indian cement brands as Nepali cement brands lack internationally acclaimed quality certification system.

Bishwo Babu Pudasaini, director general of NBSM, admits that the process to grade Nepali cement brands has been lingering since long.

“The bureau and its officials have been tied up in various election-related works since last few months, because of which the issue of grading cement had to be pushed to backburner,” said Pudasaini.

However, Pudasaini said that NBSM will start the process to issue quality certification to domestic cement brands within November.

According to him, a draft of quality certification for domestic cement brands has been made and the document will be approved by the Nepal Standard Council (NSC) soon. NSC is headed by the industry minister.

Under its plan to grade domestic cement brands, NBSM aims to provide quality certification to Nepali cement brands under three categories — 33-grade, 43-grade and 53-grade — based on different set quality parameters.

Currently, domestic cement brands are categorised as Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC) and Portland Pozzolana Cement (PPC) and both types of cement are labelled under 33-grade cement.

However, big projects basically seek 43-grade and 53-grade cements.

Meanwhile, cement manufacturers have been claiming that domestic cement brands meet international quality standards of 43-grade and 53-grade.

“The government should rightly grade domestic cement brands as per international standard to promote domestic cement brands over foreign brands,” said Dhurba Raj Thapa, president of Cement Manufacturers Association of Nepal.