Cement factories are violating standard manufacturing practices: Bureau reportSome companies were ordered to do a product recall but they did not comply.
A large number of cement factories are violating standard manufacturing practices and selling products that are not on a par with international standards, the Nepal Bureau of Standards and Metrology said in its recent report.
The national standards body said that 25 cement factories were producing sub-standard products, based on the tests of samples and market inspections conducted in the last fiscal year that ended mid-July.
Some of the big companies that the bureau said were producing low quality products are Hongshi Shivam Cement, jointly promoted by the Hongshi Holdings Group of China and Shivam Holdings of Nepal; CG Cement, a subsidiary of the Chaudhary Group, and Arghakhanchi Cement, promoted by the Siddhartha Group, one of the largest commercial establishments in Nepal.
According to the bureau, the other companies producing poor quality products are Sonapur Cement, Om Cement, MJP Cement PPC, Bishwokarma Cement, Nepal Shalimar Cement, Ambe Cement, United Cement, Bijaya Cement, KP Cement, Chitwan Cement, Mittal Cement, Siddhartha Cement, Nepal Ambuja Cement and Shivam Cement.
These factories have not carried out the actions recommended by the bureau. The bureau said that only eight cement factories had completed the tasks they were instructed to perform.
Ghorahi Cement, Narayani Cement, Bishwokarma Cement, Gorakhkali Cement, Annapurna Cement, Maruti Cement, Ganapati Cement and Bhugarva Cement have complied with the bureau's instructions.
According to the inspection report, the bureau had asked Hongshi Shivam Cement to submit a clarification after it was found that the insoluble residue level of the company’s product was not as per the Nepal Standard.
The bureau had asked Hongshi Shivam Cement on August 14, 2018 to submit a clarification within 15 days and recall the products from this batch delivered to its dealers. The bureau did not get any reply from the company and neither did it take any action against the factory.
Again on October 15, 2018, the insoluble residue and magnesium oxide in Hongshi cement was not found to be as per the Nepal Standard. This time too the company did not respond to the regulator’s warning, according to the report.
The report shows that Ghorahi Cement was asked to test the quality of its Sagarmatha OPC after tests of a sample revealed that it did not meet the Nepal Standard.
Tests of a sample collected from Siddhartha Cement, Palpa on February 24 showed that the insoluble residue level was not according to the Nepal Standard. On April 12, the company was told to recall its products, but it did not comply with the order.
According to the bureau's report, the products of most of the cement factories did not meet the insoluble residue and magnesium oxide requirement as per the Nepal Standard while some companies had been found passing off Portland Pozzolana Cement as Ordinary Portland Cement.
The insoluble residue is a non-cementing material which is present in Portland cement, experts said. This residue material affects the properties of cement, especially its compressive strength.
After finding out about the sub-standard products, the Nepal Bureau of Standards and Metrology introduced a slew of quality control and certification measures in the burgeoning cement industry. But the implementation date of the new standard has not been fixed. The bureau said that the manufacturers would be provided time to implement the new regulation.
Bishwo Babu Pudasaini, director general of the bureau, said that the number of low quality cement brands had increased in the market. When the Post asked him why the big factories were not abiding by the regulator’s orders, he did not respond.
Deepak Gyawali, spokesperson for the Nepal Bureau of Standards and Metrology, told the Post that he did not have any information about the report. Gyawali said that he had been out of town for training and had not kept abreast of the latest market inspection report.
Dhurba Thapa, president of the Cement Manufacturers Association of Nepal, said the quality of cement had decreased to some extent due to a fall in prices. “The price of cement has decreased by Rs200 per sack compared to last year,” he said.
“This has caused unhealthy competition in the cement industry and, as a result, quality has been compromised. Action should be taken against the company that has been selling Portland Pozzolana Cement as Ordinary Portland Cement.”