Cement companies to face action for truck over-loading in Chhattisgarh

Truck over-loaded with cement bags would now land even the manufacturer of the product into trouble in Chhattisgarh.

The state government had taken a decision to lodge an First Information Report (FIR) with the police against a cement company if vehicle ferrying its product is intercepted with over load. The company would face legal action for damaging the state’s resources as over-loaded trucks ruin roads.

For the first time since the inception of the state in November 2000, the Chattisgarh government cracked the whip on the cement industry. Chhattisgarh accounts for about 15 per cent of India's total cement output. All major cement players have a facility in the state that had been endowed with high-grade limestone reserves.

“The cement manufacturers cannot escape from their responsibility if trucks loaded beyond prescribed capacity roll out from its facility,” a senior official with the transport department said. Two cement companies (the names were not revealed) have been booked for the violation of norms, the official added.

The action is seen as the new government’s initiative to tightening grip on the cement industry. The manufacturers had hikes cement prices last four months that coincided the change of guard, reportedly after forming a cartel.

The cement price in Chhattisgarh reached Rs 270 per bag, a hike of about Rs 23 after the UPA government came to power. The sluggish demand following infrastructure development projects coming to a halt was cited as one of the reasons for the increase. The manufacturers were planning further hike.

However, the state government pressure yielded results as cement price were slashed to Rs 247 per bag.

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