The Assam Real Estate and Infrastructure Developers’ Association (AREIDA) has expressed serious concern over the unreasonable price hike of cement, proposed by cement companies. The proposed hike is without any justifying reason, it said.
AREIDA president PK Sarma thanked Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal for his intervention in the matter. He said that the price of cement in Assam and other parts of the North-East is the highest in the country. This is despite the fact that the cement companies engaged in manufacturing cement locally are getting heavily financed from the taxes paid by the common man, in the form of numerous subsidies under the North East Investment and Industrial Policy.
The subsidies include: 100 per cent income tax exemption, exemption of excise duty, transport subsidy on transportation of raw materials and finished products, manpower subsidy, power subsidy, captive power generator set subsidy, 30 per cent capital subsidy, 99 per cent VAT exemption, and interest subsidy on working capital. The policy was put in abeyance for new companies two years back, but for these cement companies, the subsidies continue to be availed as they were already registered by then, he said.
“Cartelisation by cement companies has become a serious issue, affecting the common man for whom we build homes. We urge upon the government to continue with its efforts in larger public interest, for the cause of ‘affordable housing’ and ensure that only a legitimate price is allowed. We, as a bulk purchaser of cement, on behalf of home buyers are extremely aggrieved by this proposed unfair price hike,” Sarma said.
He informed that the AREIDA has, in the meantime, collected enough data and decided to move the Competition Commission of India (CCI) on this issue. In a similar case earlier, the CCI had slapped a fine of Rs 6,316.59 crore on 11 cement companies on charges of ‘cartelisation.’
Image Source: worldknowing.com | Source: The Assam Tribune