Construction materials crunch hits quake victims

Dolakha: Lack of construction materials has affected the post-quake reconstruction work in Dolakha.

Shortage of materials such as cement, iron rods, sand and boulders has dented the quake-victims’ hope of completing the reconstruction of their houses before monsoon this year.

In the past one week, there has been acute shortage of cement and its price has also skyrocketed in the market in the district.

Quake-victims and other locals complained that black-marketing of cement was taking place at certain places due to lack of effective monitoring and inspection by the concerned authority.

Bhupal Singh Basnet of Mirge in Baiteswor Rural Municiplaity-3 said he had failed to complete the reconstruction of his house due to shortage of construction materials in the local market. “On the one hand, there is shortage of cement, sand and boulders, while, on the other, traders are fleecing people,” he added.

Dolakha is in need of 35 to 40 tonnes of cement every day for reconstruction of quake-affected houses and other structures. The supply of cement is enough to meet just one-fourth of the demand in the district.

Hardware trader Sundar Karki said if he sent ten vehicles to fetch cement from the market, he would hardly have one vehicle loaded with cement.

However, cement traders attributed the cement crunch to low production by cement industries in Birgunj owing to scarcity of raw materials.

Indra Shrestha, from Dolakha chapter of Federation of Nepalese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said locals in Raxaul, India, had disrupted Nepal-bound vehicles carrying raw materials, citing air pollution from heavy vehicles, which had eventually resulted in cement crunch in the local market in the district.

Traders were selling iron rods and cement at higher prices, citing shortage of cement and hike in the price of petroleum products in the Nepali market.

A sack of PPC cement costs Rs 950, while a sack of OPC cement is traded at from Rs 1,050 to Rs 1,070 in Dolakha headquarters Charikot.

Charikot-based Kalinchowk Hardware and Suppliers proprietor Sanat Thapa said cement shortage and price hike of petroleum fuel had made construction materials expensive in the district.