Amid rising Indo-Pak tension, BJP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ban import of cement from Pakistan in the interest of domestic industry and national security.
"I request you to ban import of cement into the country not only in the interest of growth and sustenance of domestic cement industry but also in keeping with the imperatives of national security. Ban of import from Pakistan will be in the interest of the country's security in the present juncture," Swamy said in a letter to Modi.
He said the import of cement without levy of customs duty was introduced in 2007 to augment supply in view of high demand.
He said the situation has since changed and the domestic industry has added a lot of capacity which is not being utilised, with around 116 million tonnes cement capacity lying idle due to stagnating demand in the country.
He also referred to reports of “recovery of drugs like heroin and fake Indian currency notes concealed in cement bags imported from Pakistan.”
"Allowing imports of cement from Pakistan, therefore, carried with it the additional risk in that it provides an effective cover for smuggling of contraband goods and harmful weapons and ammunition concealed in cement bags which comes in rakes and trucks, in the hands of disruptionist elements," he said.
Source: ECONOMIC TIMES (257236)