Stir over increase in cement prices

Stir over increase in cement prices
Published: 06 November 2006

Opposition Congress and Shiv Sena today lashed out at ruling BJP for increase in cement prices, but the state government said it had no power to check it as cement was a Central subject.

"When four years back there was a hike in prices of cement by Rs 5, BJP leaders had protested, terming it as ’(Ajit) Jogi Tax’. Since then it has increased by Rs 80 per bag, and people are asking whether it is (Atal Bihari) Vajpayee tax, (L K) Advani tax or Raman (Singh) tax", said Jogi, the former Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh. Senior Congress leader Shailesh Nitin Trivedi alleged that the BJP government had a nexus with cement manufacturers because of which there was a steep hike in prices.

The BJP government had reduced the power tariff on cement plants in the state from October last, but instead of reduction cement prices have increased. This reflected the nexus between the manufacturers and the state government, Trivedi alleged. Youth Congress leader Idrish Gandhi said they have launched an agitation even as cement prices have increased by Rs 15 and touched Rs 180 in last three days.

Congress has given an ultimatum to cement companies to reduce prices within seven days, Gandhi said. Meanwhile, Raipur District President of ruling BJP, Rajiv Agrawal said the state government could not check the price of cement as it was controlled by the Centre and advised Congress workers to approach AICC President Sonia Gandhi or Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.