Himachal tells cement firms to lower prices

Shimla : After a failed meeting between the Himachal Pradesh industries minister and cement companies the state government has decided to get tough with them for not lowering prices .

The government says if prices are not brought down it will withdraw various incentives being offered to them .

The price of a cement bag in the state is at least Rs 30 more than the neighbouring states .

The state industries minister Kishan Kapoor issued the warning over the weekend saying the government was considering withdrawing incentives being offered to the cement industry in the hill state .

He said the companies were making huge profits by selling cement at high prices .

Kapoor says the incentives to cement companies amounts to Rs 350 crore per year . The government is considering withdrawing transport and power subsidy among other incentives .

Earlier this month cement companies had agreed to reduce the prices by Rs 10 per bag .This offer was rejected by the government saying the price must be reduced by at least Rs 30 a bag .

The ruling P.K.Dhumal led came under a lot pressure from the Opposition Congress to bring down cement prices during the recently concluded state legislative assembly session .

The cement companies maintain that cement is a deregulated item and so the government cannot forced them bring down the prices .

In a 20 year career published widely. He has worked for the BBC, AFP, The Statesman, IANS and the Business Standard . Known for his hard hitting writing and occasional off-beat stories. He lives in Shimla.

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