Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) has decided to exempt four corrugated roofing sheet manufacturing units from scheduled power cuts and give them a 24-hour power supply to ensure that they can maintain full-fledged production.
Acknowledging the increase in demand of corrugated roofing sheets after the April-25 earthquake which destroyed hundreds of thousands of houses, the NEA board, led by Minister for Energy Radha Kumari Gyawali, reached the decision to supply corrugated roofing sheet manufacturers with round-the-clock.
Bhagawati Steels Industries Ltd, Hulas Steel Industries Ltd, Arati Steels Ltd and Rajesh Metal Craft Pvt Ltd are four of the manufacturers of corrugated roofing sheets.
“We have decided to give 24-hour power supply to these four manufacturers of corrugated roofing sheet so that production from these industries won’t be halted,” Ram Chandra Pandey, deputy managing director of NEA, told Republica. He said the decision would help encourage manufacturers to produce corrugated roofing sheets as pert their production capacity.
Demand for corrugated roofing sheets shot up after the earthquake.
As the earthquake partially or fully damaged hundreds of thousands of houses, survivors have been opting for corrugated roofing sheets to build temporary shelters. While government had estimated that 1.4 million roofing sheets were needed within a month to build temporary settlement for survivors, domestic manufacturers estimate that they can make only around 600,000 bundles of roofing sheets in that period.
However, earlier manufacturers had said that domestic production alone would meet the demand if each manufacturing unit managed to operate in full capacity.
“We will try our best not to cut power to these factories for a couple of months,” Pandey said, adding: “Power will be supplied in such a way that it will not affect regular supply to the public.”
He said that regular supply to these factories would be made from existing generation plants. “In case we feel a power crisis, we are even ready to import it from India,” he added.
Meanwhile, manufacturers have already started importing enough raw material for corrugated roofing sheets from India and other countries.
“The monsoon season is near and it is regarded as an off season for corrugated roofing sheet production,” Bhanu Bhattarai, assistant manager of Bhagawati Steels Industries Ltd, said, adding: “We are currently importing raw material and if each unit operates full fledged, we can meet the demand within the next month and half.”
Bhattarai said the decision to supply 24-hour power supply was encouraging.