Three leading cement companies Gujarat Ambuja,ACC and Jaypee company owning mega cement manufacturing plants in Himachal Pradesh on Thursday slashed their prices by half. With this,a 50 kg bag of cement will now cost Rs 25 in the state.
The decision,which will come into effect immediately,was taken after state the government put considerable pressure on these companies. While these companies have been selling cement at rates between Rs 320 to 350 per kg,prices in Punjab and Haryana are Rs 280 per kg or less. This,even though these companies manufacture cement in the state with the help of local raw material.
However,despite the cut in the prices,cement rates in Himachal Pradesh will still be higher than its adjoining states.
Opposition Congress,meanwhile,claimed that the rate slash was insufficient. Rs 25 cut is fine but not something to cheer about. Why dont the companies sell cement at rates lower than Punjab and Haryana since cement is manufactured in Himachal Pradesh only? asked PCC General Secretary Kuldeep Rathore.
The decision to lower the prices came after Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal held a meeting with companies representatives and top government companies on Thursday. Earlier,Industries Minister Krishan Kapoor had held at least three rounds of meetings with these companies and threatened that all benefits available to these will be withdraw if they did not bring down the rates.
I appreciate the gesture of the companies towards the common man. This will help them to carry out repairs and construct houses. The issue to put cement in the list of controlled items has also been taken up with the Centre. This will ensure some check on cement prices, said Dhumal after asking all deputy commissioners to ensure that the price list of different companies was regularly displayed by retail dealers.