India: Cement consumption in India fell for the first time in nearly 20 years in the three months to 30 June 2011, with a political impasse in large consumer states holding up infrastructure and realty projects. Demand fell by 0.68% during the period compared with the corresponding period in 2010 but demand changes were different depending on location. In Andhra Pradesh, demand contracted by 21% and in Karnataka it was down by 8.04%, according to data from Cement Manufacturers' Association (CMA).
Elsewhere, demand was down by 2% in June 2011 in Kerala and in Tamil Nadu, it was down by 1.9%. In comparison Gujarat saw cement demand grow by 4.9%, but growth was less strong than the same period of 2010, when 15% cement demand growth was seen.
The demand for cement is not assisted by problems that are expected to hinder government's proposed USD107bn investment in state road development during the 12th Plan period. The government has cited a lack of capacity in the private sector to make large investments, political sensitivity surrounding road-tolling, land acquisition disputes (which have caused a slow-down and resentment from locals at the site of the Formula 1 circuit site in Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh) and a shortage of trained manpower as key problem-areas that may hamper the execution of the programme, due to start in 2012.
It is estimated that because of these problems, around 80% of the cost of the proposed investment will have to be met by public funds. The plan includes the construction of over 30,000km of new dual-carriageways, 5000km of four-lane highways and another 41,500km of single-track roads that are due for restructuring. The plan stipulates that the roads will be finished with either cement-based finishes or asphalt.