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Ferrosilicon factories to move from Jigmeling to Samtse

Lhakpa Quendren | Gelephu

The construction of Ferrosilicon factories at Jigmeling Industrial Park in Sarpang, which had been halted for over a month, will be relocated to Samtse.

While there are currently no plans to shift other factories, the decision to shift silicon factories comes after considering various factors, including maintaining a clean and green environment probably to align with the vision of the city project in Sarpang.

Industry, Commerce, and Employment Minister, Karma Dorji, confirmed the relocation, highlighting the prevention of pollution associated with the silicon factories.

Lyonpo said that close consultations are underway with the factory owners to reach a mutually beneficial agreement for both the country and the promoters. “The relocation process is almost 90 percent complete, with the efforts underway to finalise it.”

While Samtse has been identified as a potential location due to its proximity to Siliguri in India, Lyonpo said, the specific development site is yet to be confirmed. “We have to obtain clearance from the community and compliance with the relevant Acts to ensure that no rules are breached during the process.”

Following the relocation decision, labourers at the construction site have returned home. Also, the lack of clear directives and instructions regarding the relocation process has created confusion among the factory officials.

“We have submitted all the necessary details, including the compensation and the next six months’ salaries of staff. The transportation has to be carried out in a phased manner to ensure a smooth transition,” an official said, adding that prolonging delay would cause damage to machines and equipment. 

Factory officials say that while the government’s efforts to expedite the relocation process are commendable, they cannot immediately implement the construction of civil works due to the monsoon season.

When asked if the factories replicate the same size of the plots in the new location, Lyonpo said, the size of the plots will be allotted equivalent to what the factories currently possess in Jigmeling.

Lyonpo also said that the operational factories will remain in operation if the factories are deemed necessary for any future development plans.

Today, of the 43 various industries, bricks and paper recycling manufacturing factories are operational. Additionally, a cheese factory and Himalayan Grinding Grains are due for its operation, while 16 industries are at different stages of construction.

The industrial ventures include four plotting—agro and food-based, mineral and chemical-based, forest and wood-based, and other-based industries for construction materials, household goods, logistics, packaging materials, spices, cheese, and textiles and garments.

Jigmeling Industrial Park, covering over 733 acres along the Gelephu-Sarpang highway, is the largest industrial park among four industrial estates in the country. The development work for the estate started in 2016, following the completion of its detailed project report in 2015.