Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Saturday, January 9, indicated "cartelisation" in cement and steel factories, and alleged that they are exploiting people by levying higher rates.
Speaking at the meeting of the western region segment of Builders Association of India (BAI) event, Gadkari said that it will be difficult for India to become a $5 trillion economy if the steel and cement prices shoot up, pointing out the target of investing ₹111 lakh crore on infrastructure projects in the next five years to aid the economy, reported The Times of India.
For over many years now, major cement companies in India have been frequently accused of cartelisation i.e. working collectively to manipulate the prices of their product by regulating its supply. The firms involved in a cartel increase their profits and dominate the market.
Earlier, Gadkari had written to the Prime Minister citing how companies were artificially jacking up prices and had sought his intervention.
Responding to a suggestion from the BAI of the western region that the government should create a regulator for these cement and iron, Gadkari said, "We are in the process of finding out the solution for that. Your one of the recommendations is for a regulator for steel and cement, which is also a good suggestion. I will look into it. I will take it to the finance minister and prime minister."
He further added that these steel companies have not increased their power and labour costs but still continue to charge higher prices.
He said that the cement industry is exploiting the situation by hiking up the prices, and underlined that the companies' stance is not in the interest of the nation, as many infrastructure projects have been lined up.