More cement imports if necessary: Ashwani Kumar

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New Delhi, Apr 26: Faced with increasing political pressure to put a leash on the spiralling inflation, the government today said it will facilitate more cement import if the need arises. ''We will import cement if there is a need,'' Minister of State for Industries Ashwani Kumar told reporters on the sidelines of the FICCI Harnessing Intellectual Property for Nations's Development.

As the cement prices in the country surged, the government has banned cement export as well but the move will not impact the SEZs, Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath had said. Earlier this week, commerce Secretary G K Pillai had, said the import of cement would be increased in May to 4,000 tonnes a day to get rid of the disparity between demand and supply.

India had already allowed duty-free import of cement from Pakistan last year, as domestic firms were running almost at full capacity and would not be able to meet the demand in near future. It imported 1.3 lakh tonne of cement from Pakistan last year.

Indian cement manufacturers plan to increase cement output by 100 million tonnes within 2010.

The goverment expects a balance in demand-supply of cement in the current fiscal.

With such moves, the government believes the cement prices in the country will stabilise, and also check cartelisation in the sector.

The state governments have also been empowered to cap the amount of stocks any stockist can keep, which is expected to release more stocks in the market of primary commodities.

UNI

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