Bureau of Standards says House panel acted in haste by cancelling cement grading planThe bureau had intended to examine and grade locally produced cement from November 17.
The bureau had intended to examine and grade locally produced cement from November 17 as manufacturers had been doing it themselves using Indian parameters. Last week, the House panel directed it to shelve its plan.
Bishwo Babu Pudasaini, director general of the bureau under the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supply, told the Post that the grading certification has been fixed by the Nepal Council of Standards and is on a par with the cement produced in India and China.
“The committee might not have understood the technical terms used in cement production,” he said, adding that they had been summoned by the panel for extensive discussions on the grading system and quality control.
Rojnath Pandey, spokesperson for the Parliament Secretariat, told the Post that they had written to the Industry Ministry directing it to withdraw the decision to provide grading certification until the committee’s next decision. The panel is scheduled to meet again on Sunday.
According to him, the House panel decided to stop the process after receiving complaints that the government was overlooking quality in order to grant factories grading certificates. “We have launched an investigation as we have found that some norms have been changed to grant grading certificates,” he said without divulging what the norms were.
Pandey said that they had also invited experts to the discussion on the issue on Sunday.
The bureau had planned to enforce the new rule, which has been approved by the Nepal Council for Standards, from November 17 after getting the Cabinet's go-ahead.
Currently, there is no grading system for the product in Nepal, and domestic factories are using quality parameters set by India. Once the grading system is implemented, Nepali cement will be classified into 33, 43 and 53 grades on a par with international standards.
Most cement factories in Nepal produce cement of 33 grade. Cement is categorised into grades according to its strength.
According to the bureau, 33 grade cement is used for construction of homes and other small construction projects. Similarly, 43 grade cement is used as required by engineers according to its capacity while 53 grade cement is used for the construction of mega infrastructure. It took three years to prepare the grading standard for Nepal.
Following the publication of the new rules, manufacturers can assure the quality of their cement, and offer to supply it to large construction projects, according to officials.
Normally, Nepali cement is not preferred for large construction projects like hydropower schemes and airports due to quality issues, and builders import their requirements from India.
Under the new rule, along with the standard, cement factories have to state the date of manufacture clearly on the packaging.
According to the Cement Manufacturers Association of Nepal, there are around 61 cement factories operating in the country with a combined production capacity of 15 million tonnes annually.
Nepal has become self-reliant in cement production as construction activities have been increasing. New cement factories are being established to meet the country’s growing demand.