The Builders’ Association of India (BAI) has blamed the union commerce ministry and domestic cement manufacturers for the jump in skyrocketing of cement prices, which have gone up to Rs 240-250 per bag from Rs 140-150 two-years back.
"At the instance of cement manufacturers, the union commerce ministry is not clearing the unnecessary hurdles to pave way for cost-effective imports from neighboring countries. This is going against the interest of the housing and real estate industry," BAI’s Chairman (Mumbai region), Anand Gupta said.
He claimed that the price could have been lowered by at least Rs 100 a bag provided the ministry had allowed cement imports from neighbouring China and Pakistan.
Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) in a notice issued on November 24, 2000 had made it mandatory for all cement and steel manufacturers to register with Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) to obtain permission for the import of these commodities.
"The import of steel without the BIS clearance is already in place. Strangely, however, cement has been left out for the same due to some unreasonable and unknown reasons," Gupta said.
He also blamed the cement manufacturers for ’hoarding’. He said Holcim and Aditya Birla group, which control more than 40 per cent of the domestic market, were creating unnecessary demand-supply gap, which is largely responsible for price hike.