Finance Minister talks tough against crusher industries

Finance Minister talks tough against crusher industries

The government has reaffirmed its stance on crusher industries. Addressing entrepreneurs here today at the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) finance minister Ram Sharan Mahat said that thee government see the crusher industry follow the new regulation. "The government would not allow crusher industries to operate anywhere they want," he said, adding that they have to follows regulation and shut down plants that do not meet standards. The government has barred crusher factories that fail to meet standards from operating since mid-July. According to the government regulation, the plants are required to operate some 500 metres away from highways and rivers, and 2-km away from forests, national parks and human settlements. The government has also banned extraction and export of natural resources from the Chure region completely to conserve Chure forests. "The government cannot allow operation of crusher industries that do not follow  the standards and pose risk to infrastructure like bridges and degrade environment,” he said adding that the government can lift the ban only on those crusher industries that comply with the government regulation. Currently, the crushers have halted the supplies – opposing the government decision – creating the shortage in the market despite some 4 million cubic feet stocks of sand, pebbles and stones. The artificial shortage has hit the construction of development projects. Likewise, prices of construction materials have also soared due to shortage and also due to government lack of willpower to take action against them. They also refused to sell their stock, despite government's directives last week. Earlier, on Sunday, some 700 tippers and trucks were parked at Tinkune of Kathmandu as the first phase of their protest programme. The government has delegated authority to the local bodies to monitor the crusher factories and take action against them. "The government can review the decision, if the district monitoring committees recommend,” Mahat added. On the occasion, the entrepreneurs asked giving more incentives to small and medium enterprises and low-interest loans for the productive sector. They also complained of tax authorities and increased import duty on textiles besides demanding the implementation of an online payment system.   PDA will be gamechanger KATHMANDU: Finance Minister Dr Ram Sharan Mahat today said that signing of Project Development Agreement (PDA) of Upper Karnali hydropower project would be a 'game changer' for the country’s energy sector. "There are those who are creating hurdles in the development process of the country," he said, asking everyone not to politicise issues related to water resources. "We have already lost more time by politicising on water." Investment Board of Nepal had started negotiations on 900MW Upper Karnali PDA with GMR Group that is developing the mega hydropower project Surkhet, Achham and Dailekh districts, in April 2013. The government had awarded GMR the project in 2008 through competitive bidding. The deal was supported to be signed during the recent visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi but was postponed after some political parties' objection. However, August 4, Prime Minister Sushil Koirala and Indian Premier Modi agreed to conclude the PDA within 45 days. The government has then formed a committee under National Planning Commission vice chair Dr Govind Raj Pokharel to finalise the draft PDA within three weeks. But the committee is yet to submit the report as the deadline expired last Sunday. Some of the committee members have objected to the cash incentive proposal that the GMR will also get, according to the budgetary policy has anncounced it to all export-oriented hydro projects.
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