The Nepali brick market is dominated by traditional brick producers who are notorious for causing air pollution and other health hazards. The brick they produce also often falls short in terms of quality as they mostly ignore accepted international standards. But against this norm, a Bhaktapur-based startup has been fast gaining attraction in the local brick market due to the cost efficient and modern bricks it produces.
Founded by Bikram Prajapati along with his partner Gokul Prajapati in December 2014, with an initial capital of Rs 15 million, Bajra Brick and Tile Industries is being warmly received by customers. Among the Prajapati duo, Bikram is a graduate of Mechanical Engineering from Pulchowk Engineering Campus whereas Gokul has been a brick businessman for 10 years who knows the tricks of the trade and is also a 50 percent share partner.
A mission to establish Bajra Brick and Tile Industries is to strictly produce quality and cost efficient construction materials with modern, environment-friendly technology and local materials. The company was registered in December 2014 and started operating immediately after the earthquake of 2015.
“The company also aims to contribute towards quicker reconstruction of houses and important structures destroyed or damaged by the earthquake with the substitution of traditional bricks by concrete blocks, bricks and tiles,” informs Bikram. According to him, the company does not use fertile soil for producing bricks and tiles. “We use industrial waste instead,” he says, adding, “We use the waste that remains after production and compact it to produce the products. This helps to control the pollution that a brick factory produces.”
The main products of Bajra Brick and Tile Industries are concrete hollow blocks, concrete bricks, interlocking blocks and finishing interlocking blocks. According to Bikram, all these products are produced using a single machine which requires a small workforce. Beside this, the bricks produced by the company are twice as stronger than local bricks due to the lower water absorption rate. “The more the water absorption rate, the weaker the bricks are. Our bricks come with a maximum of nine percent water absorption rate, whereas it is 25 percent in traditional bricks. The bricks we produce are of uniform size and are 20 percent cheaper than traditional ones,” informs Bikram. As opposed to the traditional bricks produced by baking in kilns, the company’s products are manufactured in machines through the process of compression and vibration. This ensures the bricks are of a constant size while also requiring less cement during the wall plastering thus adding cost effectiveness to the essential construction material. According to Bikram, the machine used by the company can operate for 12 months, whereas the traditional brick kilns can only operate for six months in a year. Due to the longevity of the machine, Bajra Brick and Tile Industries has an annual production capacity of four million pieces.