GUWAHATI, April 9 – A meeting took place among the cement industry representatives and the Department of Industries & Commerce officials on Sunday over the recent hike in the prices of cement.
The industry had put forward their explanations and justifications in front of the department officials to clarify its stand on the recent price hike in cement.
A statement said that during the meeting, various presentations and discussions took place that helped remove the misconceptions being rumoured about the cost of cement production. The industry representatives shared their primary concern of high cost component – transportation.
“Average freight cost (raw materials and finished goods) is coming over Rs 110 a bag in Assam which is significantly high and the primary cause of the recent price hikes. The local cement industry has overcome hikes in prices of all raw materials and other variable inputs over the last year. The recent excise increment and the sharp rise in coal, diesel, transportation etc., has laden additional burden to the woes of cement manufacturers in the region,” it said, adding that the inclusive freight rates had almost doubled over the last two years which turned the cement industry into a big disarray.
It further said that railway freights had gone up 19 -33 per cent in the last two months. “Due to frequent unavailability of power, factories are being forced to use diesel genets to upkeep the production in progress which leads to huge consumption of diesel, the price of which has also increased. With the incremental costs, the production cost per bag after subsidy is estimated between Rs. 305 - Rs.315 per bag,” it added.
The Department of Industries & Commerce officials along with Additional Chief Secretary, PK Choudhury, along with other representatives gave a patient hearing and understanding to the concerns of the industry and expressed willingness to come forward to tackle the issue jointly to bring down cement prices.
Department officials also attempted to assess the health of the industry and expressed their concern.
The cement industry was represented by officials from Calcom Cement, Topcem, Surya Gold Cement, Adhunik and Suraksha Cement, among others.