Nepal | June 07, 2020

Not enough bricks for reconstruction works

Himalayan News Service
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Chitwan, January 13

Stakeholders have said brick kilns will take more than four years to produce bricks required for reconstruction of earthquake-damaged structures.

“According to government estimates, 12 billion bricks are needed for reconstruction and it might take four years, or even more, for us to produce bricks in this volume,” said Nepal Brick Kiln Federation Chairman Mahendra Bahadur Chitrakar.

According to him, the country has 850 modern technology-based brick kilns. “The industries in total are producing 2.5 billion bricks annually. So it might take four years or more to meet the demand if the kilns run continuously,” he said. Chitrakar, however, showed his concern about the ongoing blockade and its effect.

“As there is no fuel most of the brick kilns are unable to feed workers there and have shut down, while others are suffering due to shortage of coal that is needed to bake bricks,” he said, adding that brick industries will be able to produce half their annual capacity if the blockade ends any time soon.

According to Chitrakar, around 10 per cent of brick kilns are now in operation. “Though a few of the kilns in Kathmandu Valley, Nawalparasi and Chitwan are running, the ones located in the plains where the stir is on, haven’t operated,” he said.

On his part, federation secretary Narayan Sapkota dwelt on the difficulties in supplying raw materials to brick kilns set up in the interiors of Madhes.

“As there is a blockade, we have failed to supply the necessary raw materials to brick kilns in the Madhes where the agitation is on,” said Sapkota, also expressing concern about the plight of brick kiln workers amidst the blockade and lack of cooking fuel.

“There are 250,000 to 300,000 workers working in brick kilns. We’ve failed to feed them, let alone run the brick industry,” said Sapkota, adding that brick kilns had lost around 1.12 billion rupees. He also sought government help in providing necessary fuel so as to operate the kilns.

A version of this article appears in print on January 14, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.

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