Bedlam in Himachal assembly over high cement prices
Cement price issue created a pandemonium in the Himachl Pradesh State Assembly recently. Not satisfied with the government's reply, members of the opposition in the House had a heated argument with the minister concerned and later raised slogans against the government inside the House. They were pacified only when chief minister Virbhadra Singh made a statement, assuring the House that cement prices would be brought down.
The opposition members in the House said that despite cement units polluting environment in the state, cement was being sold at higher rates in Himachal as compared to other states. Is the government taking any step to reduce the price, one of the opposition members asked.
The State Minister for Food and Civil Supplies GS Bali replied that companies fix the rates and that the government's intention is clear that they reduce the price as they are extracting natural resources from the state. A bag of cement is sold between Rs 295 and Rs 310 in Punjab, whereas in Himachal, the price ranges from Rs 310 to 340.
The truck unions are charging Rs 8.13 per tonne per km fare in Himachal, whereas in the neighbouring state, it is Rs 2.50, he said and added that the CM has formed a committee under industries minister Mukesh Agnihotri and the chief secretary and that negotiations are on to reduce the cement prices.