Union Minister confident of Cement prices coming down

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Bangalore, May 13 (UNI) Union Minister of State for Industry and Commerce Ashwani Kumar, while expressing confidence in prices of Cement coming down, today warned that the Government will deal with 'iron hand' if it was found that 'due to cartelisation of manufacturers' the cement and steel prices have increased.

Talking to newsmen here, he said that the government has taken several steps to bring down the prices of Cement and Steel and the result can be seen in the days to come.

Mr Kumar said that the cement industries heads are meeting at New Delhi on May 15 and discuss the government's referral on reduction of cement prices.

Expressing confidence that the existing high price of steel and cement were momentary and would come down to reasonable level, Mr Kumar warned that if Government find any grain of truth that the prices are 'artificially regulated', strict measures will be taken against it.

Stating that the skyrocketing price of Petroleum products, at the International level has its cascading effect in the increase of all the commodities including food grains, edible oil, cement and Steel, Mr Kumar said that the situation would likely to improve in the coming days.

He said that the prices of food grains in India was being maintained far below as compared to present global level due to timely intervention of the Union government. "Containing the prices of food grains and insulating the poorer sections from its impact was top on the agenda of the UPA government" Mr Kumar said.

Referring to the reports that excessive hoarding of essential commodities across the country was also one of the prime contributor for the increase of prices, Mr Kumar said that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has written to all the state governments appealing to take remedial measures against it. "A massive de-hoarding drive' will be undertaken across the country with the active cooperation with the respective state governments," he said.

Mr Kumar said that "the inflation rate will be brought down a minimum one per cent within 8 to 10 weeks. We have also reports that this year there will be good monsoon and good harvest of wheat.

The country also has good buffer stock of food grains to meet any eventuality," he said.

Replying to questions, Mr Kumar assured that there will be no reduction of PDS quota for any states. "The existing PDS quota fixed to state governments will be maintained" he said.

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