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Cement cos refuse to budge on prices

The government's efforts to make the cement industry reduce prices have not made any headway with the manufacturers refusing to consider such a proposal.

business Updated: Mar 22, 2007 15:58 IST

The government's efforts to make the cement industry reduce prices have not made any headway with the manufacturers refusing to consider such a proposal.

"They (manufacturers) have told the government nothing can be done (on reducing prices)," official sources said.

The companies also told the government that they have started doing well only since the later part of 2005 whereas in the previous 15 years they were struggling.

Sources said that the companies did not moot any price reduction formula during their meeting with Finance Minister P Chidambaram who had asked them to bring down prices to the pre-budget levels.

After the meeting, the minister claimed a section of the industry was keen to cooperate with the government for checking price rise.

"I get the impression there are both views in the industry. One is more sober view that we must help the government control inflation. The other view seems to be more hawkish," he said.

"It is my hope they will discuss among themselves and come back with some proposals to the government. I have asked industry secretary to keep in touch with them, if they have any proposals," he added.

The finance minister had called cement manufacturers for the second time after the Budget, which imposed dual excise duty structure on cement to rein in prices.

"We have information how much your (cement makers) sales have increased. How much your PBT has increased. How much your PAT has increased. So you should come forward with some proposals (on moderating cement prices)," he said after meeting a delegation of cement companies.