Warning steel producers against profiteering, Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari on Thursday said he has sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi's attention towards 55% hike in steel prices by players during the past six months.
"There has been a 55 per cent hike in steel prices in the past six months. I have written to PM and Steel Minister (Dharmendra Pradhan) for a decision on this," Gadkari said while addressing the ASSOCHAM Foundation Week on 'national infrastructure pipeline critical for economic revival across sectors.
Had the price hike been in the range of 15-20 per cent, it could have been justified but it was abysmally high.
Producers should curb the practice of exorbitant hike of prices, otherwise the government will have to change policies and encourage alternative technologies in projects. Too much costly steel makes the project unviable, he said.
"A long-term policy is needed for steel and cement manufactures. A uniform policy," he said and added that
"They can enhance productivity and earn profit. Else, projects will become unviable," he said and elaborated that steel and cement accounted for 40 per cent of the project cost.
Alternatives are being explored for steel like Malaysian ad Singapore technology. Earlier, when cement makers started profiteering, the government had to stop 100 per cent concrete road-building and revert to bitumen model, he said.
"Exorbitant hike of steel prices is not good for infrastructure and real estate," he said.
The Minister also said a GPS-based system will be introduced for toll collection with Russian expertise where toll amount will be deducted from the commuter account or e-wallet on the basis of distance traversed. This will be rolled out within two years, he said.