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Himachal

Posted at: Oct 12, 2018, 12:16 AM; last updated: Oct 12, 2018, 12:16 AM (IST)

Multiple taxes, high freight keep cement firms away

Multiple taxes, high freight keep cement firms away

Ambika Sharma

Tribune News Service

Solan,October 11

Multiple taxation and high freight charges have emerged as the major deterrent to the cement industry from investing in the state.

The introduction of the GST in June, last year, was supposed to ease the multiple taxation system, but various state-level levies such as certain goods carried by road (CGCR) and additional goods tax(AGT) have failed to be discontinued.

The CGCR is levied at the rate of Rs 150 per tonne on cement up to 250 km and the AGT is approximately levied at the rate of Rs 26 per tonne on limestone and fly ash. The two levies considerably add to the cost of cement manufactured here thus making it less competitive, said a key manufacturer. Apart from this, the existing high transportation cost due to lack of other means of transportation like the Railways have further acted as a deterrent for new cement manufacturers to venture into the state. The transportation cost in Himachal is the highest in Asia i.e. Rs 9.70 per tonne per km. He further said the failure of the successive state governments to rein in the transport unions who have been monopolising the freight had led to higher freight.

Since little has been done to address these key issues, no bidder came forward for setting up a cement plant at Sikkridhar by the state government recently, opined officials of another cement unit.

Sailesh Aggarwal, president, Baddi Barotiwala Nalagarh Industreis Association, said a committee comprising the industries and transport ministers had been constituted to rationalise the freight after they had represented the issue before the CM, but the committee was yet to give its findings.

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