Bricks manufacturing plants in Sarpang are having a difficult time to get their products sold in the market.
With minimum sales of concrete bricks and hollow blocks, they say that they have failed to reach their sales target despite producing better quality products.
They added that the prices of their products are comparatively cheaper than that of products from the neighboring Indian state of Assam and that they use local raw materials like cement and dusts from the crusher plants, thus adding value to the waste materials.
These industrialists say their sales would boost if the government makes it mandatory for all the Bhutanese construction companies to procure and use their products.
“Doing so, we would not be draining our hard earned Rupee to India,” Sonam Dorji, the proprietor of Yangjung Sonam Bricks in Gelephu, said.
Sonam Dorji said his company does not receive much order as construction companies prefer Indian bricks even if they are inferior in quality.
“We comply with the criteria set by the Bhutan Standard Bureau and they inspect frequently. If the government is really concerned about the quality of construction materials being used by the Bhutanese construction companies, they need to check the quality of the Indian bricks. This is not done till date,” Sonam Dorji said.
“They strictly monitor our products but are numb on the imported materials, especially bricks which are much inferior,” he added.
According to Sonam Dorji, the prices of Bhutanese bricks are also comparatively cheaper than the bricks from India. He sells his concrete bricks at Nu 8.5 per piece, while the Indian bricks cost more than that.
“Forget about transportation charges which are obviously higher, still people prefer to go outside,” he said, adding that he can’t even close the plant as he has more than 35 employees working with him.
“We also need to deliver if the sale picks up gradually. We are in a dilemma,” Sonam Dorji said.
Duyul Hollow Block, another bricks manufacturing plant in Sarpang, is also going through a similar problem. The company makes not more than two sales a month. It sells concrete bricks at Nu 8.75 per piece and hollow block at Nu 35 per piece. The company sells only about 5,000 bricks a month.
The company, established in 2011, has not sold much after the inception of the plant.
“We won’t have problems if all these bricks are used in all construction purposes in and within Gelephu and the nearby regions,” Jangchub, the proprietor of Duyul Hollow Block, said.
He said the company does not earn much income as he also needs to pay for his staff and Nu 6,660 per year as amount for land lease to the government.
Meanwhile, there are around six bricks making industries in Gelephu. Despite the minimal sales, more are expected to make foray into bricks making business.
Krishna Ghalley from Gelephu