Kochi: Though the government relaxed Covid curbs for construction sector, cement godowns are not allowed to open. With this, shortage of cement was witnessed and the cement companies increased the price taking advantage of the crisis.
The price of cement rose from Rs 380 to Rs 420 in April. This was further increased to Rs 480 before the lockdown. The buyers will assume that the price was increased by merchants due to scarcity. In fact, the companies are responsible for the price hike.
Cement sales has declined due to Covid crisis. So, the companies are trying to make maximum profit increasing the price, the merchants said. When the merchants protested against continuous price hike, the government had convened a meeting of cement merchants and company representatives in 2019.
It was decided in the meeting that the companies should inform the government while increasing the price. However, cement price was increased by about Rs 60 in October 2020 after issues between the merchants and companies.
The merchants are in crisis as they cannot even open the shops along with the price hike. Cement bags are piled up in the shops. They cannot be sold once it gets hardened. If the lockdown is further extended, the merchants will have to face a huge loss.