Topcem Cement ‘looting’

Meghalaya government has started an inquiry on the issue of ‘disparity’ in prices of cement (in comparison to Assam) in the state.

M.S. Rao, chief secretary of Meghalaya on Thursday told Northeast Now that the government has entrusted Pravin Bakshi, secretary, Consumer Affairs to inquire into the matter.

It was reported that Topcem Cement, which ‘exploits’ limestone reserves of East Jaintia hills have been charging higher retail price (in comparison to Assam) for cement in Meghalaya.

Also Read : Topcem Cement ‘looting’ indigenous tribal population of Meghalaya

Anirban Roy, editor-in-chief of Northeast Now, on December 17 had registered a complaint with Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma on Topcem Cement’s price disparity between Assam and Meghalaya.

It was found that customers in Shillong and Jowai pay Rs 40 to 60 more (in comparison to Assam) for every bag of Topcem Cement they buy.

Also Read : Nefarious ‘syndicate’ cartelise and manipulate cement price in Assam

Retail price of a bag of Topcem Cement in Assam ranges between Rs 390 to Rs 420, while the price is Rs 440 to 450 in Meghalaya.

In addition to extracting natural resources in Meghalaya, the cement company also enjoyed benefits under the North East Industrial & Investment Promotion Policy (NEIIPP).

When contacted, Pravin Bakshi, secretary, Consumer Affairs confirmed that he has been entrusted to inquire into the matter of ‘disparity’ in cement prices in Meghalaya.

“We have sought inquiry reports from Deputy Commissioners of different districts on prices of cement,” Bakshi said.

Also Read : Meghalaya government warns ‘stern actions’ if Topcem Cement’s ‘price disparity’ found true

The secretary of Consumer Affairs said the government will take future courses of action based on the reports from the districts. “We may also have to convene a meeting with the cement producers and find out ways to resolve the issue,” Bakshi said.

Earlier, Anil Kapur, president of Topcem Cement had claimed that the price of cement in Meghalaya is higher than Assam primarily because of logistics issues.

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