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The plan to move the industrial area of ​​Kathmandu Valley is stalled

हेमन्त जोशी
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Years ago, the plan to relocate the industrial areas in the Kathmandu valley has been stalled. Despite the government's policy to move the industrial area and the demands of the locals, it has not been implemented.

The plan to move the industrial area of ​​Kathmandu Valley is stalled

There have been calls for relocation of the industrial areas operating in Balaju, Patan and Bhaktapur due to dilapidated infrastructure, security risks and pollution effects in densely populated areas. However, on the one hand, there has been slowness in the implementation of the government's plan, and on the other hand, industrialists are also seeking the government's support in the problems that may arise during the relocation. It has not been decided where, how and when to move the industry in these areas.

For the first time, through the budget statement of the financial year 2073/74, the government announced the policy of moving industries within the valley. In the budget of that financial year, it was mentioned that arrangements will be made to transfer the industrial areas in Kathmandu valley outside the valley within two years . The government's plan was to shift the industries of Balaju, Patan and Bhaktapur industrial areas to Hetauda's Mayurdhap. But the plan to move the industry there could not be implemented as it was not decided whether the Mayurdhap industrial zone would be formed by itself.

Not only the central government but also the state government has taken a policy to facilitate the relocation of industries in the valley. In the Economic Act of Bagmati Province, 2079, it is mentioned that if the manufacturing industries located in Kathmandu Valley transfer their industries to other districts of Bagmati Province, a 50 percent discount will be given on the real estate registration fee charged for the purchase of land in the name of the industry. This arrangement has also been kept in the financial act of the current financial year of the Bagmati state government . But the effectiveness of the government's policy has not been seen significantly as the industries themselves do not want to leave the valley.

Acting General Manager of Industrial Area Management Limited Rajendra Prasad says that there is no immediate plan to move the industrial areas within Kandel Valley. 'Some time ago this topic came up . But now we are only thinking about building a new industrial area. There is no plan to move the industry out of the valley,' he said.

There are 135 industries in operation in Balaju industrial area and four are under construction . Similarly, there are 111 industries in operation and four under construction in Patan. In Bhaktapur, 38 are in operation and one industry is under construction.

Mayurdhap Industrial Area Project's Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) has not yet been approved and it has not been decided whether an industrial area will be built there or not, Kandel says.

The industrialists themselves are not ready to shift the industrial areas of the valley. The industries do not want to bear the burden of the liability created in the process of moving the industry. It was not clear how to compensate the expenses incurred during the transfer. It is not an easy task to destroy an industry and take it to another place,' Kandel said to Rasus, 'Earlier, when this matter came up in the budget, there was some opposition from the industrialists . At that time, they were looking for clarity whether the government will compensate the cost of moving the industry or the industrialist should bear it. After that, this topic stopped appearing in the government's policies and programs and budget.'

The government felt the need to move the industrial area due to the effects of pollution created by the industries in the middle of the dense settlements of the valley, lack of maintenance even when the structures were in a dilapidated condition for decades, and the inability to install the latest technology for the industry. 60 years have passed since the establishment of Balaju Industrial Zone, which is the first industrial zone of the country. From the government agency, there are more than 40 industrial buildings, more than 20 warehouses, other garages with More than 23 buildings have been built. Structures have also been made from the private sector. Similarly, the infrastructure structure of Patan Industrial Zone established in 2020 and Bhaktapur Industrial Zone established in 2036. have become dilapidated .

'During the establishment, there were no settlements around the industrial area, but now there are slums. As a result, environmental issues have also come up,'' Acting General Manager Kandel said,

There is a debate from time to time about whether or not to relocate the industrial areas within Kathmandu Valley and to relocate only industries of a certain nature . "There is also the issue of moving the manufacturing industries here and keeping only the service sector and information technology industries there. But if there is a problem again, essential goods and services cannot be brought from outside. Industrial sector is for industries, why give to service sector? "There has not been a unified opinion on how to manage the industries here," Kandel said.

According to the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supply, the government has taken the policy of giving concessions for upgrading and increasing the capacity of industries, but there is no plan and program for relocation. According to Gajendra Kumar, the spokesperson of the ministry, although the government has a policy of providing concessions for establishing new industrial zones, installing new technology equipment, etc., there is no plan for relocation.

Most of the infrastructure in Balaju and Patan industrial areas are 60 years old. The industrialists have been demanding that the dilapidated building should be rebuilt or the government should allow the industrialists to build it. Due to the dilapidated buildings, there is a safety risk to the industrial workers .

There is a problem with industrial waste management. There is also a problem for sewage management. There is no vacant land for sewage management in these industrial areas built many years ago. As soon as a little smoke comes from the industries that emit smoke, the locals complain. Infrastructures like electricity and water are also in a dilapidated condition. Acting General Manager Kandel says that the Industrial Area Management Limited does not have enough resources to maintain the dilapidated infrastructures. Rent is not enough . We have to rely on government resources. We are not in a position to maintain the infrastructure with our own income,' he said.

The dispute regarding the rent adjustment of this industrial sector has not been resolved for a long time . Now this matter has reached the court. According to the provision of adjusting the rent every five years, Industrial Area Management Limited decided to increase the rent last year . But industrialists opposed it . Kandel said that the High Court of Patan has ruled in favor of Limited and after the full text of the court's order, the process of determining the rent will be started.

Industrial Area Management Limited Board Member and President of Nepal Industrial Area Industry Confederation Ramhira Pathak also says that the structure of the industrial area of ​​the valley is becoming dilapidated and its reconstruction is necessary. The structure of the industrial sector that was conceived 60 years ago has become dilapidated. Some are in a dilapidated state, while some structures are only available for complete technology. They are not available to keep modern technology machines,' Pathak says, 'The government should build the dilapidated and useless infrastructure or the industrialists should be built.' He said that some of the industrial technology machines are no longer working and have been replaced with new technology, but they are not being managed.

'Industry is believed to be there for life after wearing it once . Can't move like a tent. If it is to be moved elsewhere, then it needs to be clear that it should not be moved . The government should make sure that there are no slums tomorrow,' says Pathak, 'The argument that it is challenging to operate industries in places where the environment is polluted and the population density is high has started to be heard . But what is the guarantee that those problems will not occur in the place of moving?'

Pathak's argument is that while some industries can be moved by moving the industrial area, not all industries can be moved out. Giving examples of industries related to woodwork, metalwork and sculpture operating within the Patan industrial area, Pathak asserts that if those industries are moved outside, they will cease to exist . Similarly, he said that since it takes a long time to move the industries, there is also a problem of how to bear the financial obligations during the period of moving.

'We have made an agreement to deliver the product to the customer . If it cannot be delivered, not only us but also the market will have a problem . There will be a situation where we have to meet the demand by importing goods from abroad,' he said. He also said that the industries that are in trouble due to

earthquake, blockade, covid-19 epidemic etc. are now slowly shrinking. However, Pathak says that he is still facing many problems due to unstable politics. There is no stability in the tax rates, bank interest rates. When the government changes, the policy also changes. A definite policy should be made,' he said. The reader also says that the private sector as a whole should not be called bad because of the bad work done by an industrialist. -rasas

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