Crusher industry shuts shop in protest

BHAIRAHAWA: Protesting against the government decision of slapping tax on crusher industries from this fiscal, proprietors of such 51 industries here in Rupandehi district closed their factories from Wednesday.

Besides incurring a huge loss themselves, the closure of the industries has also affected the revenue collection as they were providing Rs 8 lakhs of daily revenue to the government till the fiscal budget was announced.

The entrepreneurs charged that the government increased tax in the export of stones and gravel -- which was not the case till now -- that too without consulting them.

Organising a press meet in Bhairahawa today, Nepal Gravel and Stone Workers Union demanded to withdraw the decision of increasing the tax. Narayan Dhakal, Rupandehi chairman of the

union, said the government had increased 122 per cent to 185 per cent tax. The crushed stone and gravel are exported to India.

Dhakal lamented, "Our products cannot be exported to India as the production price will also be increased in proportionate with the increment in the tax." He warned that they would not open the industries until the government revoked the decision.

He claimed that about 50,000 workers and their families are directly affected with the closure of the factories.

Speaking at the programme, Krishna Prasad Sharma, central member of Federation of Nepalese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), said, "The investment of more than two crores rupees in crusher industries have been in hot water due to the government's announcement." Saying that the entrepreneurs were discouraged by the government's move, he said, "We will give the keys of our industries to the government if our problems are not heard."

An estimated amount of Rs 17 crore is being collected by District Development Committee and adjoining VDCs located near the river bank from the crusher industries here.