BHAKTAPUR, July 31: While Nepal is increasingly becoming dependent on other countries for a majority of commodities, it remains self-reliant in the grill and steel business. Businessmen have said that if it is given more emphasis, export to foreign countries could also be probable soon.
Mohan Katuwal, president of the Federation of Grill & Steel Fabricators Nepal, said that Nepal is almost self-sufficient in the grill and steel sector. He said that there would be no problem in exporting the products if the government helps. “Until a few years ago, Nepal was dependent on grills and steel. There was a situation where we had to import them from India and China,” he said. “But now, we are almost self-sufficient and with some effort, we can also export them to various countries,” he added.
According to the statistics, there are more than 11,000 industrial units in the grill and steel sector across the country. Those industrial units have been providing direct employment to 160,000 people by teaching skills to 3,000 youths annually. Works related to metal fabrication worth Rs 65 billion are being done each year.
“There is still a shortage of skilled manpower in this industry,” President Katuwal adds. “Additionally, we have helped prevent many young people from going abroad by giving them jobs in this sector.” He also stated that due to the lack of skilled manpower, the federation has also been involved in providing various training. It accuses the government of not paying attention to the problems in the sector even though there is potential for good business. Since there is a mountain of problems in the grill and steel business, the businessmen have demanded that the government address those problems.
Niranjan Kumar Shrestha, senior vice president of the federation, said that the businessmen are disappointed because the government has not given much consideration to the protection of the sector. They said that they are also doing social work such as making temporary iron houses for the people who have been reduced to living under the open sky after the devastating earthquake of 2015 and providing relief materials to the flood victims.
In recent times, the use of iron has increased among consumers as an alternative to wood. According to the stakeholders, this has stopped the destruction of forests, helped to maintain environmental balance by aiding in the growth of the forest cover, and also helped to reduce floods and landslides caused by soil erosion.