A senior journalist of Northeast has lodged a complaint with Meghalaya chief minister Conrad K Sangma against the disparity in prices of cement in Assam and Meghalaya.
Anirban Roy, editor-in-chief of Northeast Now, on December 17, 2020, mailed a complaint to chief minister Sangma alleging that the Meghalaya Cements Ltd, the producer of Topcem Cement is selling their products at a ‘higher price’.
“It has come to my notice that Meghalaya Cements Ltd, the producer of Topcem Cement, which extracts limestone from East Jaintia hills to produce about 4,600 tons of cement daily, is selling every bag in Meghalaya at a ‘higher price’,” Roy mentioned in the complaint.
He said customers in Shillong and Jowai pay Rs 40 to 60 more (in comparison to Assam) for every bag of Topcem Cement they buy.
“My team of journalists had carried out a survey on December 10 in different locations in Assam and Meghalaya. It was found that customers in Shillong and Jowai pay Rs 40 to 60 more for every bag of Topcem Cement they buy,” he said.
The retail price of a bag of Topcem Cement in Assam ranged between Rs 390 to Rs 400, while the price is Rs 440 to 450 in Meghalaya, the journalist said.
Roy alleged that while Topcem Cement is extracting a huge quantity of limestone from the South Khliehjri Limestone mine in East Jaintia hills, it is unfortunate that the local people of Meghalaya are paying more.
“Moreover, extraction of limestone has long term brunt on the ecology of the area,” he pointed out.
In addition to extracting natural resources of the tribal population of Meghalaya, the cement company enjoyed all benefits under the North East Industrial & Investment Promotion Policy (NEIIPP), Roy added.
The copies of the complaint letter have also been sent to DoNER minister Jitendra Singh, Lok Sabha MP Vincent H Pala, Meghalaya Commerce & Industries minister Sniawbhalang Dhar, Jaintia Hills Autonomous District Council (JHADC) CEM T. Shiwat and Sutnga Saipung MLA Shitlang Pale.
The letter has also been mailed to Meghalaya Chief Secretary M.S. Rao, Commerce & Industries Commissioner and Secretary Mebanshailang R. Synrem, CMO Commissioner and Secretary Vijay Kumar D and East Khasi Hills district DC Kum Isawanda Laloo.