Govt to encourage cement imports to curb rising prices: Nath

Govt to encourage cement imports to curb rising prices: Nath
Published: 26 March 2007

The government of India may take steps to encourage cement imports in a bid to contain spiralling prices of the construction material, Commerce Minister Kamal Nath said.  
"We will look at encouraging import of cement," Nath told reporters here.  
Though the government has already abolished import duty in portland cement, yet imports have failed to take off due to prevailing high prices in the international market.  
"We need a 100Mt capacity in the cement industry," he said, adding the government wanted to see a health industry so that supply demand gap does not remain.  
Nath made it clear there was no deadlock between cement industry and the government. "We would continue to urge cement companies to consider price reduction," the minister said and pointed out that discussions were on with the cement industry to see what more could be done.  
He said the cement industry has pledged not to increase prices for the next twelve months even if input costs increase. "For the next twelve months they would not be raising prices and that is the most important thing," he said.  
Nath disagreed that due to exports there was shortage of cement and argued that exports are minimal and limited to neighbouring nations like Nepal and Bangladesh.