Raipur: About 175 small steel wire manufacturers in Chhattisgarh went on indefinite strike citing high price of rawmaterials that put their business in red.
The strike is affecting 12,000 daily wage employees in the state.
The strike call has been given by Bhilai Wire Drawing Association (BWDA) and Chhattisgarh Steel Wire Manufacturing Action Committee (CSWMAC) which have alleged that the main raw material supplier Bhilai Steel Plant (BSP) is charging a premium of Rs5,000 per tonne on the raw materials and two other local industries producing raw materials are engaged in cartelisation in price front.
BSP, however, made it clear that all pricing decisions are taken by the Central Marketing Organisation (CMO) of Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) and it was done on the basis of market dynamics.
S.P. Jaggi, Deputy General Manager, PR, Bhilai Steel Plant said: “BSP selles its prime products through the CMO and all pricing decisions are taken by CMO based on market dynamics.”
Ashish Gupta, president, BWDA and member CSWMAC said that they are unable to do business in the present environment and thus had called for the strike.
“Earlier BSP was the sole supplier of raw materials (wire-rod) to us. But some time back it had stopped producing wire-rod. As we approached SAIL’s ED Meheta to this effect in Kolkata, BSP again started production of wire-rod but taking the advantage of higher demand, BSP is charging a premium of Rs5 000 per tonne,” Gupta said.
Gupta said that two other big industries, producing wire-rod and HB wires, are also engaged in cartelisation and increasing prices as per their wish.
“With BSP putting a higher price tag, we are forced to go to these industries for raw materials. And prices here fluctuate every hour. They are engaged in cartelisation to get higher profit,” Gupta said.
Meanwhile, Rajesh Chatrath, In-charge, Wire-rod, Prakash Industries Limited (PIL), one of the main supplier of wire-rod in the state denied that there was any cartelisation.
“Prices of the raw materials are fixed as per the market demand. We are here to do business. As steel price is fluctuating every now and then, how come we have a fixed price as demanded by the steel wire manufacturers,” he said.
Out of the 175 industries, 130 are situated in Bhilai, whereas rest of them are situated in Raipur and other parts of the state. Of late Chhattisgarh has come up as a hub o f steel industries in the state due to the availability of raw materials.