Expressing concern over the steep increase in the prices of iron and steel, especially in Punjab, due to the imposition of entry tax and hoarding by the cartel of steel trades of Mandi Gobindgarh, the Hand Tools Panel of Engineering Export Promotion Council (EEPC) yesterday said the price rise had led to a significant fall in the export of hand tools by more than 10 per cent, and demanded immediate intervention of both the union and state governments to take measures to regulate the price of steel.
Last year, the price of steel was Rs 26,000 and pig iron was Rs 20,000 per MT. Currently, it has increased to Rs 32,000 and Rs 26,000 per MT respectively, said Sharad Aggarwal, convenor of the Hand Tool Panel of EEPC. He added that in Punjab the prices of steel and pig iron have increased by at least 10 per cent.
Iron and steel forms 60 to 65 per cent of the total cost of production of Hand Tools Industry, which has been badly hit as every 10 per cent increase in iron and steel prices adds nearly six per cent to the cost of hand tools, Aggarwal claimed.
The Government has succeeded in the past few days in persuading the steelmakers to reduce prices to help the economy, although some fear that any reduction, will not necessarily filter through to the consumer.