While blaming the manufacturers of forming cartel for increasing the cement prices, the All Pakistan Contractors Association (APCA) has given the government two weeks deadline to bring cement prices at Rs 180 per bag and avoid halting of construction work at development projects.
APCA Chairman Engr Ahmed Ghazal Usmani, who was flanked by his 12-member team, told a press conference here that the contractors would stop work on all development and other projects if the government did not fulfil their demand for rationalising the cement prices.
He said the Association wants punitive action against the manufacturers for forming cartel, besides bringing the cement prices down to Rs 180 to help them complete the ongoing projects in time. He said the cement price-hike was a conspiracy meant by the cement manufacturers to foil the government agenda of progress through massive construction.
The APCA demanded exemplary punishment for the cement manufacturers, who are indulged in unholy and unconstitutional act of cartelisation. It also demanded ban on cement export to Afghanistan and Middle East.
Usmani and his team members issued a set of demand to the media men on the occasion. It said the Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) may be asked to import on war footings cement from other countries. It referred to the case of sugar, cotton and other items of daily-use imported by the TCP to thwart bid to create monopoly and make money through cheap tricks like artificial shortage.
The APCA demanded that the government should allow cement import from India and Iran without duties and taxes via train, trucks and other means from all points such as Wagah, Munabao and five other points of Azad Jammu and Kashmir. It also demanded abolition of taxes and duties on the cement to pass on the relief to the cement buyers.
The APCA demanded that the government should take step to dispel impression that cement factories are stronger than the state. It suggested the government that it should conduct a study to workout cost and the price for the end consumers.