If the Pakistani and Chinese cement make their way to Indian market, a bag of cement which costs Rs 251 in Mumbai could be as low as Rs 140 per bag according to local press reports. The Builders’ Association and real estate agencies have already been demanding the abolition of hurdles in importing cement. The Builders Association of India (BAI) has pleaded with the Centre through a letter for the removal of the hurdles.
"The prices of cements in Indian markets which were Rs 135 per bag in December 2005 have now reached to Rs 251, recording nearly 85 percent rise. The picture is wrongly drawn and the cement could well be available at Rs 140 per bag if government takes corrective steps," said Raju John, secretary, BAI.
The BAI had written to the Union Commerce and the Finance Minister asking them to clear the consignments of the cements imported from countries like Pakistan and China. "For the import of the cement, manufacturers are bound to register themselves with the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and since the compliance is lengthy and cumbersome the consignments which are lying at the ports for last few months could not have been cleared," the letter said.
BJP state unit chief Nitin Gadkari had alleged that the price rise was arbitrary and artificial. He said that one of reasons for inflation in real estate prices was due to rise in cement prices. Finance Minister P Chidambaram abolished customs duty on the import by 12.5 per cent in January 2007.