Why did the trade practices regulator MRTPC take 17 long years to find that more than 40 cement producers were guilty of manipulating the market and arbitrarily fixing cement prices, irrespective of the costs across various units? Because the country’s archaic laws and institutions have been ill equipped to protect the consumer from such unjustified burden.
The case in question covered a six-month period in 1990, which was filed that same year. There are at least six more known pending cases. The latest refers to a period in 2005-06, work on which began late 2006. That they were under scrutiny would seem to have been no deterrent for players to engage in unfair practices again. Both the protracted hearing process and the fact that MRTPC had no teeth to penalize would have encouraged this. We hope its successor, the Competition Commission, fares better with its improved laws. Only if it keeps away from legacies and deadwood.