Gadkari said if the steel and cement prices keep on increasing, it will be difficult to achieve Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream of making India a 5 trillion US dollar economy.
He pointed out the target of investing Rs 111 lakh crore on infrastructure projects in the next five years to boost the country’s economy.
“Regarding steel and cement, this is really a problem for all of us. Actually, I feel this is a cartel by some big people are doing in cement and steel,” a media report quoted Gadkari as saying while speaking at a virtual programme organised by the Builders Association of India on Saturday.
Gadkari informed that he had discussions regarding the matter with Prime Minister Modi.
He said he also discussed the issue with the principal secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).
The Union minister wondered how the steel industry has been hiking prices when all the players in the industry have their own iron ore mines and do not have to face any hikes in labour or power rates.
He said the cement industry has been exploiting the situation by increasing the prices.
Gadkari said: “We are in the process of finding out the solution for that. Your (BAI’s) one of the recommendations is for a regulator for steel and cement, which is also a good suggestion. I will look into it.”
In addition to limestone mining without approval, the management of Topcem Cement also earned the dubious distinction of ‘looting’ the indigenous tribal population of Meghalaya.
It has been reported that Topcem Cement, one of the leading cement companies in Northeast, has been selling cement at a higher price in Meghalaya.
While the price of a bag of Topcem Cement in Assam ranged between Rs 390 to Rs 420, the price is between Rs 440 to 450 in Meghalaya.
It is alleged that the other cement companies, based in the region, also continue to hike prices of various cement products.