Brick manufacturers in Mongar are worried about the dramatic decline in the demand for local bricks, after enjoying good turnovers in the last few years.
Jamayang, 37, the owner of Druk-Zeen Bricks Manufacturing Unit in Mongar, used to have a long line of orders from government and corporate agencies, including private individuals.
“It was difficult to meet the demand then, not to mention pressure from clients in other dzongkhags. However, the business is virtually closed these days as the orders have dropped drastically,” he said, adding that he still keeps his plant open with a little stock on display.
Moreover, losing Indian laborers due to the Covid-19 pandemic affected production in his plant and now it’s extremely difficult and expensive to bring them back from India due to the Covid restrictions.
“An Indian labor used to operate the machine previously and the Bhutanese workers do not stay for a longer duration,” he added.
Last year, when the border closed, demand for local bricks skyrocketed; he earned as high as Nu 100,000 in a day besides the monthly profit of Nu 700,000 a month.
“Today I hardly earn Nu 100,000 a month and barely survive,” he said, adding how labor shortage brought economic activities to a grinding halt, severely affecting his business.
He is hopeful of getting his Indian technicians back soon as he also runs a workshop and requires a mechanic to operate.
“Recently, a new bricks unit was opened a few kilometers away from Druk-zeen Bricks Unit but the unit is also undergoing the same difficulty in the wake of the low demand,” he added.
Druk-zeen Bricks Manufacturing Unit is the first to open a plant in Mongar back in 2017.
Tenzin Lhamo from Mongar