After unveiling a host of products and schemes using the Amma brand, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Friday announced the launch of one more product — Amma Cement.
To be sold at Rs. 190 a bag of 50 kg, the Amma Cement is an improvement over the scheme of subsidised cement implemented by the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) regime since January 2008. Under the old scheme, the price was kept at Rs. 200.
The new scheme is also meant for the poor and the middle class, affected more than any other section by the rise in cement price. Similarly, the Portland Pozzolana Cement (PPC) variety will be supplied. This time, cement will be sold through 470 godowns of urban and rural local bodies and the Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies Corporation (TNCSC), against 220 TNCSC godowns under the existing scheme. Besides, women self-help groups would be identified to sell 400 bags at a time through shops of the District Supply and Marketing Societies.
Explaining the reasons for the increase in cement price, Ms. Jayalalithaa said that of the State’s monthly requirement of 17 lakh-18 lakh tonnes a month, the undivided Andhra Pradesh was contributing 4-4.5 lakh tonnes. After companies in Andhra Pradesh increased the price by Rs. 80 to Rs. 100 a bag, the retail price stood at Rs. 310 a bag in that State. This resulted in the reduction of supply by 1.5 lakh tonnes-3 lakh tonnes. This development created a conducive environment for Tamil Nadu producers to enhance the price.
The product would be sold only to those who built individual houses, a government official clarified. At the rate of 50 bags per 100 square feet, one could get a maximum of 750 bags for a house of 1,500 square feet. For repairs, 10 bags to 100 bags would be given.
As in the case of the previous scheme, which was not successful, the government would get the supply from private manufacturers at a pre-determined price. On an average, two lakh tonnes would be procured. Those who wanted to get the subsidised cement should submit copies of the plan permits of their houses to local officials and get approval.
The Tamil Nadu Cements Corporation will function as the nodal agency. The TNCSC and the Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Department would also be involved in the scheme.
The scheme would also be extended to the beneficiaries of the rural housing schemes for the poor: Indira Awaas Yojana and the Chief Minister’s Green House Solar Powered Scheme. The cement requirement of the beneficiaries of the two schemes for the current year was put at 4.9 lakh tonnes, another official said. This meant about 19 lakh tonnes would be available for the public.