With transportation hit, storage is a big worry for manufacturers

Manufacturers apprehensive as to how long they will be able to operate in given scenario

From September, supplies and sales have been registering a downward trend

HYDERABAD: If the agitation for a separate Telangana has thrown the real estate sector into quandary and slowed down the construction activity, it has left the cement industry in a state of real distress. The demand for the key construction material has been affected with construction activity in and around the city dropping down considerably.

The agitation has not spared the process of production, transportation and marketing of cement too. Such is the state of affairs faced by cement producers that one did not mince words to state, “some of the units might be forced to shutdown in 10 to 15 days this way.”

With transportation of cement facing uncertainty given the series of bandhs and continuing agitations across the State, the manufacturers are apprehensive as to how long they will be able to operate in the given scenario.

One major worry happens to be storage at the production point as they cannot keep the clinker for longer periods. “Lot of material is on the ground and if the material is not going out, we cannot keep it stored indefinitely,” says president of All India Mini Cement Manufacturers’ Association K. Gopi Prasad.

The State has about 50 cement manufacturing units and the situation generally has been described as the same all over. The monthly cement output from these units has been put between 2 million tonnes to 2.2 million tonnes per month.

For the industry, tough times began from September and the supplies and sales continue to register a downtrend every month.

Since the Telangana agitation picked up, apprehensions are raised over the prospects of production also. In a way, the first drop point for the industry in last 60 months has been September and the situation has not changed since then, Mr. Prasad adds.

Prices slide

The prices of cement which rose highly during the construction boom that the city outskirts witnessed till late last year, have also come down considerably since. During the peak, it turned premium and a bag was even sold for Rs.220 and above.

However, with the demand going down considerably after the builders forced to put on hold in the wake of property interest losing steam, the prices kept sliding down. At the retail level, a bag of cement now costs Rs.140 and above.