The Indian cement industry has expressed concern over increased cement imports from Pakistan contending that the waiver of import duty has put domestic producers at a disadvantage.
The Indian Cement Manufacturers Association said most of the imported cement is utilised by bulk users, mainly the real estate sector, which consumes nearly 55 per cent of the total amount.
It said the industry, in a bid to reduce production cost, which had gone up by over eight per cent in the last five years, had focused on captive power generation as power constituted a major part of cost of the production.
At a time when the country is reeling under inflation, it is unfortunate that the cement industry is being singled out for high pricing, the association said.
The government had "forced" the industry to commit to a three-month freeze, leading to a dent in the profits of cement factories, the asociation said.
"There is surplus cement in the market leading to decline in bulk rates. Inflationary pressure and transportation as well as dealers’ margin have gone up, which kept retail prices intact", Cement Manufactures Association President HM Bangur said.
The Association demanded that the government should offer domestic producers the same benefits as that for imported cement. This would automatically bring down the prices, he said.