India to consider more cement imports from Pakistan

April 7th, 2008 - 6:25 pm ICT by admin  


New Delhi, April 7 (IANS) India will look at importing more cement from Pakistan to check spiralling domestic prices, as the neighbouring country has surplus production this year, a top official in the industry ministry has said. “We are looking at importing more cement from Pakistan through the north-western border,” Ajay Shankar, secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, said on the margins of a seminar on India-Europe tourism opportunities.

“We are watching the situation very carefully,” Shankar said, referring to the internal monitoring of some commodity prices like steel and cement so as to act if their prices go out of control.

“Capacity expansion is taking place and we expect the demand-supply situation to balance this year,” he said, referring to the plan to enhance cement capacity by 118 million tonnes over the next four years to touch 298 million tonnes.

Ministry officials said state-run canalising agency Minerals and Metals Trading Corp (MMTC) could be asked to import the cement from Pakistan at around Rs.210-Rs.220 per 50 kg bag, against the domestic price of over Rs.230.

The state-run firm, they added, may be asked to import around 100,000 tonnes of the commodity.

The government’s thinking has been warranted by a spurt in prices in recent weeks - caused mainly by food and commodity prices - that has taken the annual rate of inflation to a three-year high of 7 percent.

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