With the regional cement prices showing no signs of coming down in the immediate future, bulk consumers in the state, including irrigation contractors, builders and departments like housing, have pressed the panic button. Now the government is under pressure to step in to ensure price stability. While state government officials have already been asked to look into the complaints of non-availability of cement in several parts of the state and the alleged cartelisation by manufacturers, chief minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy is himself expected to bring local cement manufactures across the table to discuss the demand-supply problems and the issue of prices with them.
More than anyone else, the government itself is concerned over the implications of rising cement prices on the cost of irrigation projects and also on its other pet programmes like housing. It has made a commitment to build a whopping 1.5m houses for weaker sections during this year alone.
Cement prices in the state have already spiraled to around Rs 155 a bag across the state from Rs 120 a bag prevailed just before the onset of the present construction season. But more than the current price levels, the future scenario is very grim forcing the government to find a quick way out. The prices are expected to touch Rs 160 per bag in Hyderabad and other places in the state soon.