Truckers miffed over factory maintenance shutdown

They claimed to have not been informed in advance though plant officials say otherwise

DCCL: More than 200 Bhutanese and Indian trucks were stranded for about two weeks in Nganglam when the Dungsam Cement corporation limited (DCCL) could not dispatch cement after the factory was shut down for maintenance since May 1.

Transporters complained of not being informed about the maintenance.  Each transporter had about 50 trucks waiting for the cement to be dispatched to various depots and hydropower projects.

DCCL has about 17 transporters registered with the company.  One of the transporters based in Gelephu said, the DCCL staff informed about such situations verbally only after the trucks reached the factory.  Once there, the staff keep them waiting saying they will get cement the next day.

“Otherwise, by now we’d have done almost four trips to Mangdechu and Punatsangchu,” a transporter said. “Mangdechu has already informed that construction work would begin on the third dam and here we’re unable to deliver the cement.”

Another transporter said this wasn’t the first time and that the trucks usually waited for more than three days. “We used to receive text messages before, but this time we didn’t get any information.”

DCCL officials said they expected work and dispatch to resume today but only to those truckers, who were bound for hydropower projects.  The factory would be fully operational from Sunday.

Officials denied the allegations made by the transporters and said they had informed them about the maintenance work.  An official also said this was not because of a machine breakdown but an annual maintenance of “rotary kiln,” without which the factory could not produce cement.

“When we shut down the rotary kiln, the entire factory also needs to be shut so that we can also do the maintenance of other machines,” the official said. “The kiln is coated with special bricks and portions of that in different areas has chipped off.”

Official said that, without these bricks, the 60m long kiln that run at a temperature of 1,450 degree Celsius would melt since the kiln was made of mild steel.

DCCL official also added the bricks life was usually six months and included a lengthy process to coat with new bricks.  This time about 31m of the kiln needed to be repaired unlike five or more metres usually.

“Although the work is complete, there are process that we need to follow and we’ll be able to produce and dispatch cement only by Sunday.”

Located in Chenkari, Nganglam DCCL produces about 1,500MT (metric tonnes) of cement everyday, below its production capacity of 4,130MT.

Yangchen C Rinzin,  Samdrupjongkhar 

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