Hongshi-Shivam cheers locals with road and economic activitiesNawalparasi districts these days have been bustling with economic activities after Hongshi-Shivam Cement—a Nepal-China joint venture company—came into operation. It is the country’s largest cement factory.
Nawalparasi districts these days have been bustling with economic activities after Hongshi-Shivam Cement—a Nepal-China joint venture company—came into operation. It is the country’s largest cement factory.
Once a sleepy village, Sardi village in Nawalparasi now has large numbers of business outlets and restaurants run by local entrepreneurs. The factory has not only been providing jobs to the locals, it has also boosted local economic activities. Until a few years back, due to the lack of employment, transportation and opportunities, many villagers migrated to nearby cities. It was difficult to live in the area.
But that is set to become a thing of the past.
People have started coming back to the village, lured by business opportunities.
Deep Mahato, a local of Chitwan, who had spent 14 years abroad as a migrant worker, started a restaurant near the factory two years ago, targeting the factory workers.
After he heard about the construction of factory, he made an investment using the money he had earned working abroad. The factory was completed within one and a half years.
When the factory was completed, the construction workers left the area. But the employees hired by the factory proved to be an economic windfall for his fledgling business.
Because, now there are 900 trucks supplying limestone to the factory and transporting cement to different part of the countries. “While the number of Chinese workers has decreased, the number of Nepali workers has jumped significantly,” said Mahato. There are more than 500 employees currently working in the factory. “There are many other business activities in the area,” he said.
Sardi village in Binayee Triveni Rural Municipality has a numbers of factories as well. These industries have built roads and other basic infrastructure in the village.
The price of land around the factory area has also boomed. The land valuation which was Rs15,000 per kattha a few years back has increased to Rs4 million now, said Mahato. The village also saw improved road connectivity, with the 15 metre wide road from the East-West Highway reaching the village.
“As a result, land price has increased.” The road connectivity has also linked a number of villages with cities, enabling farmers to supply their produce to the market. It has also made villagers life easier as a number of vehicles now ply on the road. People have easy access to the hospital as well.
Hongshi-Shivam Cement has been producing 3,000 tonnes of cement daily.
The plant is located at Sardi, 12km southwest of Dumkibaas in Nawalparasi district. Its main limestone quarry site is located in Palpa, which is 22 km away from the factory.
Gaurav Goyal, deputy general manager of Hongshi-Shivam Cement, said that there are more than 300 Nepali workers. Among them, 120 are from Sardi.
Similarly, the factory also has a number of Chinese workers. The factory has been producing 12MW of electricity from the factory’s waste. Goyal, however, said that the government has not constructed the road as promised and not shown interest in supplying electricity to the factory. “As a result, the cost of production at the factory has increased as we have been operating the factory through a diesel-run generator.”
Goyal said that they are expecting to get electricity by April 2019. “However, works are at a slow pace.”
Hongshi has sunk $360 million into the project which is the largest Chinese investment in Nepal’s cement industry.
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 company also plans to export the cement produced at its plant to India. Apart from Hongshi, other cement factories like CG Cements, Sarbottam Cements, Butwal Cements and Palpa Cements have been producing cement in Nawalparasi.