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“Across-the-board reduction alone will bring down cement prices”

A.V. Ragunathan

Import of cement will not benefit the common man, says Ramadoss



S. Ramadoss

VILLUPURAM: Pattali Makkal Katchi founder S. Ramadoss says across the board price reduction by cement factories alone will bring down the open market price of the commodity.

In a letter to Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, Dr. Ramadoss said mere setting aside a fraction of their production for sale at controlled price would not have any beneficial effect.

As per the government version, the factories had offered to sell 20 lakh bags of cement (50 kg each) a month, which worked out to 12 lakh tonnes a year. According to statistics available, the total production capacity of the factories during 2004-05 was 120 lakh tonnes, which was expected to touch 200 lakh tonnes during 2007-08.

As such the factories are free to sell over 108 lakh tonnes of cement at a price dictated by them. In that case how will the cement price come down, he asked.

The Government should, therefore, insist that the factories must announce across the board price reduction.

It should introduce a draft bill in the next Assembly session, and if it were done he would organise a felicitation function for the Chief Minister on Island Grounds, Dr. Ramadoss said.

He felt even the import of cement would not benefit the common man. It would be made available at Rs.160 a bag to bulk buyers but the common man would have to shell out Rs.230 a bag, inclusive of tax and handling charges. As such there would not be much difference in prices between the imported and the locally available cement.

Dr. Ramadoss told reporters at Thailapuram on Friday that the Government had reportedly granted permission, without any publicity, for setting up two distilleries, one at Kancheepuram (4.5 lakh-box capacity) and another at Pudukottai (7.5 lakh-box capacity). The PMK, which was harping on gradual reduction of TASMAC outlets, had sought an explanation.

False cases

“False cases” were foisted against certain party functionaries, alleging they forcibly collected money for the youth wing conference held at Perambalur on September 22, last year, he said.

The people of Tamil Nadu and the State Government should not remain mute spectators to the killings of the ethnic Tamils in Sri Lanka. They should exert pressure on the Centre to prevail upon the Sri Lankan Government to protect Tamils, Dr. Ramadoss said.

“Situation deteriorating”

The situation in the island nation was deteriorating with every passing day. The attacks on the Tamil areas had increased, he alleged.

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