New Delhi, May 10 (IANS) Federation of Indian Micro and Small and Medium Enterprises (FISME) Thursday called for immediate lifting of import duties on electrical-grade aluminium for speeding up power projects.
"Power cuts in peak summer months are set to escalate due to an acute shortage of aluminium, inordinately delaying completion of transmission and distribution projects in the pipeline," FISME said in a statement.
It said that in the past few weeks, there had been a sharp upswing in the release of orders by the Power Grid Corporation and other utilities which had pushed the demand for electrical-grade aluminium.
The Indian producers of the metal were not able to meet the sudden surge in demand, the statement said.
"The only way out is to encourage imports through abolition of customs duty so that the pick-up in activity on the power front is not hamstrung by a shortage of aluminium conductors urgently needed for completion and commissioning of these projects," Anil Bhardwaj, the FISME secretary general, said in the statement.
The statement said there were more than 10,000 downstream MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises) dependent upon aluminium as their principal input and around 400 of them were major producers of cables and conductors and contributed significantly to power projects.
"With power projects languishing for the past several years, Indian power consumers, especially the manufacturing sector, have already suffered a lot. Now that there is a strong pick-up in activities of power projects in the country, every effort must be made to ensure adequate supply of various inputs to these projects," Bhardwaj said.
He said that the lifting of import duties on electrical grade aluminium could be made out to be a temporary measure which would not adversely impact government's revenues.