Hongshi-Shivam speeds up road
- Narayan Sharma, NAWALPARASI
The limestone mine is spread over a 10 km radius across three village development committees in Jyamire, Palpa
Sep 22, 2016- Hongshi-Shivam Cement has sped up the construction of a 36-km road linking Nawalparasi and Palpa from where it will bring limestone to its manufacturing plant. The road will be 10 metres wide, the China-Nepal joint venture company said. A group of Chinese technicians who recently conducted a preliminary study of the limestone quarry in Palpa said that the reserves would last for 300 years. The limestone mine is spread over a 10 km radius across three village development committees in Jyamire, Palpa. The cement plant is being set up at Sardi in Nawalparasi. The factory will have a daily production capacity of 6,000 tonnes and is expected to come online by 2017. The company plans to double the factory’s output to 12,000 tonnes daily in the next four years. According to the company, 24 km of the planned 36-km-long gravel road in the hills of Palpa has been completed so far.
The Chinese team has been working around the clock to complete the road on schedule as they have targeted blacktopping it in the next four to five months. Hongshi has sunk $360 million into the project which is the largest Chinese investment in Nepal’s cement industry and the second largest after Nigeria’s Dangote Cement, which has entered Nepal with a $550 million foreign direct investment pledge. Investment Board Nepal (IBN) had approved Hongshi’s FDI proposal in July 2015. Based in Jiangxi, the company is one of the largest cement manufacturing companies in China.
The Hongshi plant being built in Nawalparasi, claimed to be the largest in South Asia, will consume 80 MW of electricity to churn out 12,000 tonnes of cement daily. According to company technicians, a tunnel will be dug through the hills to reach the limestone deposits at an estimated cost of Rs2 billion. The construction of the road has brought cheer to local villagers.“We are happy to see the construction of the tunnel road to our village,” said Ganga Bahadur Soti, a senior local of Jyamire. “We are elated at the project as it is likely to generate employment opportunities for villagers.”
Work to resettle 32 households in Jyamire 8, one of the areas where limestone deposits have been found, has started. Around 200 bighas of land has been acquired by the project to set up the plant in Beni Manipur village in Sardi. According to the project, the construction of a river diversion and a 42-room house for the company’s employees and offices has been completed. Currently, 37 Chinese technicians are engaged in the construction of the road and cement plant. The company also plans to export the cement produced at its plant to India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Although IBN has pledged to set up an industrial security force to provide security to the factory, it has not happened. “We are hopeful that the industrial security force will be established soon,” said company director Shiva Ratna Atal.