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Punjab engineering units hit by steel price hike

Written by: Staff
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Chandigarh, Apr 4 (UNI) The unprecedented trend of repeated hike in the steel has been irking the engineering industry in Punjab, particularly those in the small scale sector.

The most hard hit is the bicycle industry, sewing machines and its parts, nuts and bolts and machine tools units and auto parts industry, which are by and large concentrated in this industrial town of Punjab.

Mr Inderjit Singh Pardhan, President and Mr Avtar Singh, General Secretary of the Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings, Ludhiana, while taking serious note of such unprecedented hike in the prices of steels products, have aserted, that the Central Government, specially Ministries of Finance, Ministry of Steel and Ministry of Industry and Commerce, have not shown any anxiety about the plight of the steel consuming industry in Punjab and other states.

In a joint statement today, they have stated that while levying five per cent import duty on the steel scrap in the current budget, the Finance Ministry has literary and indirectly provided an excuse to the big manufacturers of steel to increase the prices of steel products arbitrarily.

Though the incidence of increase in the steel prices due to the levy of five per cent import duty on steel scrap, should not have been more than Rs 700 to Rs 1000 per MT, since March one this year, steel prices have gone up by Rs 2000 per MT. The prices of HR coils prevailing in the market are more then Rs 30,000 per MT against Rs 24,500 per MT in the last month. Similarly the prices of CR coils have touched Rs 40,000 per tonne within a one month period.

Mr Pardhan said that it appears that the government has decided to eliminate the very existence of the engineering industry in the small scale.

Our Chamber has time and again apprised the central government about the apathy of the engineering industry in the small scale sector which has found its existance very crucial due to unprecedented steel prices hikes and other allied unfavourable taxation policies of state and central governments, the statement added.

Mr Pardhan urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram and Commerce minister Kamal Nath to intervene in this matter immediately and take all protective measures to control the steel prices by appointing the Steel Prices Regulatory Authority so that the engineering industry in the small scale sector could plan their production activities if the prices of steel are established.

It is pertinent to point out that the engineering industry in small scale sector provide employment to more than five lakh people in the state of Punjab and contribute about 40 per cent of total exports from the state.

UNI HS RA KP1459

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