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Assam govt asks cement, steel makers not to hike prices unreasonably'


Guwahati, Nov 2: The Assam government on Monday asked cement and steel manufacturers to refrain from making an "unnecessary and unreasonable" increase in the prices of their products keeping in mind the larger interests of people.

It also asked the cement companies to ensure that the outcome of government benefits availed by them is passed on to people, an official statement said. During a discussion with cement and steel manufacturers of the state, Industries and Commerce Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary said, The raw materials for the cement industry are available in the state.

The companies have also availed government support like tax exemption, transport subsidies, etc. Hence, they must pass on the benefits to the people of the state and refrain from unnecessary and artificial price hikes. He further said cement price in Assam should not be unreasonably higher than neighbouring states like Meghalaya and West Bengal, the statement added.

Patowary warned the companies from overloading cement-carrying trucks to increase profitability and asked the Transport Department to strictly enforce the motor vehicle laws in case of any lapse. The companies must share the details of cement storage and godowns with the authority, Patowary said, adding that officials will regularly check the transport network of the cement factories.

The Minister further said his Department is keeping a close watch on the price hike of steel products. Price of steel is dependent on market dynamics, but it must be well-regulated and generous, keeping in mind the larger interest of the people of the state, he said. Cement companies like Topcem Cement, Star Cement, and Dalmia Cement highlighted issues like shortage of coal, price escalation of fuel, logistics, and input freight.

Representatives of the steel industry raised concerns over the fuel price hike and international phenomenon related to the import of necessary materials for the sector, the statement said.

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