"There are no fresh orders taking place for import of cement from Pakistan because of weakening of rupee against the US dollar," Amritsar-based leading cement importer M P Singh Chattha tolda news agency.
Importers pointed out that there was now no viability of importing cement from the neighbouring country as weakening of rupee had completely brought the pricing of Pakistan's cement on par with that of Indian one. "Now, price of Indian cement is on par with as Pakistan's cement price because of rise in US dollar against rupee.
After import, cement from Pakistan now costs at wholesale price of Rs 250 per bag, while Indian one is available at Rs 242 per bag," he said. "If an importer does not get a profit of Rs 2-4 per bag, then why he will import," he questioned. Import of cement from Pakistan got a boost in the past as it was cheaper by Rs 20-25 per bag as compared to Indian cement.
Moreover, the quality of cement from Pakistan is better than that of Indian cement, importers said. A large number of traders are engaged into the import of cement which mainly comes from Islamabad and it is consumed in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and some other parts of the country.
Financial transactions between traders of Pakistan and India at Attari-Wagah route is carried out in dollar terms. Indian rupee touched a record low of 68.85 against the dollar earlier this week. Currently, against 40-50 trucks, now 10-15 trucks carrying cement are coming from Pakistan. "Whatever cement is coming now is the result of previous orders," said another import Rajdeep Uppal.
Meanwhile, importers further said that rates of dry fruits and dry dates coming from Pakistan would go up by 20 per cent. "Prices of dry fruits and dry dates have gone up by 20 per cent due to weakeing of rupee," said a dry fruit importer Anil Mehra. It is estimated that more than 15 lakh bags of dry fruits, including almond, fig, raisins, are imported annually from Pakistan.
Importers said that there was drastic fall of import of dry fruits and dry dates as traders are worried over uncertainty prevailing in rate of rupee against dollar.