Cement manufacturers, whom the country’s anti-monopoly watchdog suspects of forming a cartel to push up prices, today said the talk about cohesion was nothing more than wishful thinking.
"Cartelisation by cement producers is nothing but an illusion," Jaiprakash Associates Ltd Executive Chairman Manoj Gaur, who is also president of the Cement Manufacturers Association, said today.
He said cement prices are market driven and there are regulators who ensure that prices remain under control and the situation is sorted out.
Gaur said cement companies, who have been served notices of enquiry by the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission, are working to address the issue and reply to the notice.
MRTPC had issued notices to 14 cement firms including Grasim, ACC and Ultratech, after its investigative arm DGIR pointed toward cartelisation and slammed Cement Manufacturers’ Association for the "exorbitant" increase in prices.
Cement prices are ruling between Rs 210-265 per bag across the country as against Rs 150-200 a year ago.
On the government’s move to allow import of cement from Pakistan, Gaur said such a step is welcome, adding that Indian cement manufacturers would continue to remain competitive in such a situation.
"Indian cement manufacturers have not been getting subsidies and despite a heavy tax regime the industry has remained competitive. If cement manufacturers from other countries bring the building material at zero duties, they would be at an advantage but Indian manufacturers will continue to maintain their competitiveness," he said.