Read each of the following passages and answer the items that follow. Your answers to these items should be based on the passages only.
White cement is the basic raw material for producing cement tiles and cement paint which are used extensively in building construction. The main consumers of white cement are, therefore, cement tile and cement paint manufacturing units. These consumers, mostly in the small scale sector, are today facing a major crisis because of a significant increase in the price of white cement during a short period. The present annual licensed production capacity of white and gray cement in the country is approximately 3.5 lakh tones. The average demand is 2–2.5 tones. This means that there is idle capacity to the turn of one lakh tones of more. The price rise is, therefore, not a phenomenon arising out of inadequate production capacity but evidently because of artificial scarcity created by the manufacturers in their self-interest.
The main reason for the continuing spurt in cement price is its decontrol. As it is, there is stiff competition in the cement paint and tile manufacturing business. Any further price revision at this stage is bound to have a severe adverse impact on the market conditions. The Government should take adequate steps to ensure that suitable controls are brought in. Else it should allow import of cement.
Why is the price of cement going up?