CM flays PMK's remark on cement price reduction

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Chennai, Jan 10 (UNI) Joining issue with Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) founder leader S Ramadoss over the cement price issue, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi today said the decision by the private cement manufacturers to reduce the cement prices to Rs 200 per bag, was hailed by all sections of the people.

Reacting to the PMK leader's remarks that the price reduction was only an ''eye-wash,'' Mr Karunanidhi, in a statement here, said when all sections in the state hailed the price reduction and appreciated the government, only a few leaders had described it as an eye-wash, because of their ''likes and dislikes.'' Without mentioning Dr Ramadoss by name, the Chief Minister, referring to the query as why it should not be possible for the local manufacturers to reduce the price to Rs 160 a bag, when the government could offer imported cement at the same rate, said this showed lack of understanding of the issue.

He said when the government imported cement through Centre's Metals and Minerals Trading Corporation (MMTC), the price of the cement would be Rs 160, only when the consignment was in the ship at the port.

Pointing out that the imported cement could not be directly taken to the construction site, Mr Karunanidhi said after payment of Rs 30 as tax per bag and Rs 40 towards transportation cost, the price of a bag of cement would come to Rs 230.

Compared to this, if the private cement manufactures came forward to reduce the price to Rs 200 a bag and make available 20 lakh bags at this rate, it only showed the government's success in reducing the prices, he said.

As announced earlier, the government would sell the imported cement at cost price and those who desired to buy more than 100 tonnes of cement, could directly buy the cement from the Chennai and Tuticorin ports at the rate of Rs 160 per bag, the Chief Minister said. Thanks to all these efforts, the prices of cement in the open market would come down considerably, he hoped.

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