Punjab traders on bandh to oppose steel price rise
JALANDHAR: Traders in Punjab on Thursday observed bandh protesting against the government inability to put a check the increasing price of iron and steel. "Last two months have witnessed a huge increase in the price of steel up to Rs 8,000 per metric tonne and such sudden increase in the price of raw material is proving to be slow poison for the small scale sector" Federation of Jalandhar Industrial and Traders Associations President Gusrsharn Singh said here. Out of the total goods manufactured in Punjab 25% were consumed in domestic market and 75% of finished goods exported to other countries, the supply of the booked order was adversely affected due to steep hike in raw the material, he said. Due to frequent changes in the prices of pig iron, the industry was virtually on the verge of closure as it was not able to book any order as it was difficult to quote the competitive rates and in the circumstances, especially in export, Singh claimed. Singh suggested that the government should immediately put a ban on the export of iron and steel apart from removing the import duty on scrap. Punjab government should also review its decision of imposing the entry tax on steel scrap from other states, he added. The Centre should again implement the Freight Equalization Scheme on the raw material as it was in the past, he said. The protesters, from 27 associations of industrialists and traders, threatened that if their demands were not taken into account they would hold a protest march in front of Parliament. Later they submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner.