GUWAHATI, Sept 12 - Expressing concern at the developments concerning cement prices, public activist Prof Deven Dutta today said that it is quite likely that the State government is staging a drama for public consumption under the pretext of asking the cement companies operating in Assam and adjoining areas to lower their prices.
�The relation between big businessmen/industrialists and political parties is well known, and donations taken by political parties from such traders often trigger price rise. Now, even if the price of cement comes down a little bit following the State government �pressure�, there is every likelihood that the cement manufacturers would resort to dishonest practices such as adulterating the product or tampering with the weight to ensure that they retain the same margin of profit even after a reduction in price,� Prof Dutta said in a statement.
Cautioning the people against such unscrupulous practices by the traders, Prof Dutta questioned why the State government is always averse to activating the departments/agencies of quality control and legal metrology.
�These are among the most �low-profile� departments of the government even though they have a big role to play in checking dishonest practices by traders. Apparently, this is a willful act on the part of the government and the bureaucracy to keep these departments inactive so that unscrupulous traders can have a free run,� he added.
Prof Dutta demanded that the two departments be made active so that they could keep strict vigil on the activities of the cement manufacturers and traders for preventing them from resorting to dishonest practices following a slight fall in cement prices.
�If the government has the political will and bureaucratic resolve, it should immediately wake up these two bodies from their slumber and put them to effective use,� he said.