Cheaper imported cement shakes domestic industry
Hit by cheaper cement imports from Pakistan, domestic manufacturers, particularly cement units based in Himachal Pradesh and Punjab, have demanded immediate tariff and non-tariff protection against the dumping from across the border.
A cement major, which has units in Punjab and Himachal Pradesh, could utilise only 75 per cent of its capacity, said a company executive requesting anonymity. Against a demand of about 8 million tonnes per annum in Punjab alone, imports are as high as 1.5 million tonnes, the executive added. An official data showed an unprecedented 24 per cent growth in imports in just one quarter ending March 2018.
The (Indian) industry had built capacity in anticipation of increased demand due to the impetus given to housing and infrastructure sectors. The demand scenario, however, remains subdued,” said an executive of a Himachal Pradesh-based cement unit. The state has a presence of major cement manufacturers such as Ambuja Cements, Ultra Tech and ACC.