Cement companies hike prices

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 08 Apr 2017 12:16:37


Business Bureau,

MAJOR cement companies have steeply hiked prices of cement from April 1. Just as the construction season is starting, the prices of cement have been sharply increased. Even though there was no heavy demand for cement in the market, cement companies had artificially hiked prices of cement by Rs 40 per bag compared to prices in March, said sources in the market.
“Cement companies have formed a cartel and have raised the cement prices,” said a leading cement dealer of the city.


He said that the cement prices of Ultratech in retail were being quoted at Rs 315 per bag compared to Rs 285 per bag in the month of March. Ambuja was being quoted at Rs 305 per bag compared to Rs 275 per bag in March, ACC at Rs 300 per bag compared to Rs 260 per bag in March and Birla A1 at Rs 270 per bag compared to Rs 245 per bag in March.


In bulk (1,100 bags and above), the cement prices of Ultratech were being quoted at Rs 270 per bag compared to Rs 235 per bag in the month of March. All other brands were also being quoted at Rs 260 and Rs 270 per bag compared to Rs 210 and Rs 220 per bag and in March.


“The cement companies have steeply hiked the prices of cement from Rs 30 to Rs 40 per bag,” he said.
Another leading cement dealer located at Wadi said that the cement companies were indulging in cartelisation and increasing the prices of cement in the market for no apparent reason. The cement companies were increasing the prices of cement at the starting of each month and on the 15th day of the month lowering prices.


“This practice is being followed continuously since one year,” he said. From April 1, the cement prices in retail were being quoted at Rs 310 per bag compared to the previous month at Rs 280 per bag. Similarly, the cement prices in bulk were being quoted at Rs 275 per bag compared to Rs 225 per bag in the last month. In retail, the prices had been increased by Rs 30 per bag and in bulk, prices had been inflated by Rs 50 per bag, he said.
Anil Nair, President of CREDAI Nagpur Metro said that in spite of lower demand from the builders and independent home makers, the cement companies had augmented the prices and indulged in unfair trade practices. “Whenever the prices of raw materials like cement is increased, the planned estimates of the builders go haywire,” he said. “On a number of occasions, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) has slapped fines and penalised the cement companies. In January, the CCI found seven cement companies guilty for bid rigging and cartelisation and imposed a penalty of Rs 206 crore. But the cement companies are so strong that it does not seem to bother them at all,” he said.


Also, the consumers had to suffer. They got angry and confused whenever the cement companies hike prices as it hits their limited budgets hard. The Government should intervene and put a stop to this unethical business practice, he suggested.