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Three firms offer cement at 190 a bag



K. Rosaiah

HYDERABAD: Even as the Government toughened its stand against the cement companies’ failure to bring down the price, some firms have approached it with the offer to import and supply cement at Rs. 190 a bag of 50 kg.

With the Group of Ministers constituted by Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy to study ways and means to bring down the price of cement from Rs. 230 to Rs. 200 per bag ready with its report, the Government has not ruled out the option of importing cement as there was no import duty on it.

Sources said that two or three firms that came up with the attractive offer plan to import cement from Pakistan, Malaysia, South Korea and Indonesia. “We are also examining the proposal to import cement as was done by Tamil Nadu, which imported 50,000 tonnes of cement from Pakistan recently,” a Minister who did not want to be named told The Hindu on Sunday.

“If the Government plans, it can also import cement through the MMTC, a public sector undertaking,” the source said, adding that the Chief Minister will convene a meeting with the representatives of the cement companies to find a way out to bring down the prices. The Government has decided to build pressure on the cement factories to bring down the prices at any cost. To achieve this, it has decided to activate the departments that keep a watch on the functioning of the cement factories.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister K. Rosaiah and Housing Minister Botcha Satyanarayana told presspersons that the Government would not keep quiet if the companies continued to increase the prices. Mr. Rosaiah said various departments had been asked to step up monitoring on the production of cement. He denied reports that cement was sold in other States at prices less than those prevailing in Andhra Pradesh.

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