GUWAHATI, March 2 � The State Government would take up the issue of the rise in cement prices with the NE-based producers of the item.
Replying to a Zero Hour motion moved by MLAs Anjan Dutta and Gautam Bora of the Congress in the State Assembly today, Supply Minister Dr Nazrul Islam made the above statement. Industries Minister Pradyut Bordoloi said that the Government would take steps against those cement producers who are found to be hiking the prices of their items illogically.
However, Dr Islam said that since 2003, cement is not on the essential items� list and hence the Supply Department has no data on cement. Prices of the item are determined by their producers. The Supply Department can take actions only when the producers fail to print the maximum retail prices of their items on the bags.
The issue would be taken up with the Industries Department too, the Minister said.
Pradyut Bordoloi said that his Department would collect information on the subsidies that cement and MS rod manufacturers of the region are getting form the Central Government and would hold review meetings jointly with the Supply Department.
Raising the issue, Anjan Dutta said that the cement and MS rod manufacturers of the region who are getting subsidies from the Central Government under the NEIIP, have been hiking the prices of their prices whimsically.
On February 29, the producers of the Topcem and Star brands of cement hiked the prices of their products. Topcem hiked the price of its product by Rs 130 per bag, while the Star Cement company hiked the price of its product by Rs 100 per bag on February 1 last. There are several police cases against Star Cement for its alleged adulteration of cement. The Adhunik Cement company held a meeting with its dealers to raise the price of its product by Rs 130 per bag, Dutta said.
The companies spend only Rs 127 to produce a bag of cement. But a bag of Star Cement now costs Rs 350. Contrary to this, cement prices in other regions of the country have remained unchanged.
Again, the price of MS rod has also shot up by Rs 700 per metric tonne, he said.
Gautam Bora said that the cement factories located in the NE region are getting 90 per cent transport subsidy and 99 per cent tax exemption.