Sale of undated cement bags goes uncheckedBreaking

April 30, 2024

Lack of government check has emboldened manufacturers to sell cement bags without mentioning the manufacturing and expiry dates. Talking to WealthPK, Shoaib Ahmed, a civil engineer, said the construction sector was facing difficult times these days due to the political uncertainty and decline in the business activities. He said the buyers could not know the actual tensile strength of cement when they buy a cement bag carrying no manufacturing and expiry dates. However, keeping in view the fact that the demand for cement will increase with every passing day, the manufacturers and their associates are storing such cement bags, he said. Sensing this situation, he said the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) recently directed the manufacturers to print the expiry date on the bag – a move that must be appreciated. Shoaib said climate conditions directly impact the cement strength due to its hygroscopic nature. He said cement loses strength within four to six weeks of storage.

Therefore, he said a regular check on manufacturing and packing dates must be ensured. He urged the government authorities to move against the manufacturers and direct them to label the bags with “manufacturing/packaging and expiry/best before” dates. He said cement with a weak tensile strength could lead to fatal accidents but the manufacturers were playing with the lives of people by hiding the manufacturing date. Javed Kamal, an architect, told WealthPK that discussions with some dealers revealed that the manufacturers were intentionally omitting the manufacturing, packaging, expiry and best-before dates to avoid financial losses. “Many a time cracks develop in new walls due to the poor strength of cement. Like the health sector, the government must ensure regular monitoring of the cement industry,” he suggested. Raising his serious concerns, Javed Kamal said the manufacturers and sellers were misleading the consumers with impunity.

“Influential people attached with this sector seem to have no qualms about putting the people’s lives at risk. In the absence of manufacturing and expiry dates, the consumers are unable to know the lifespan of cement, leaving them in a quandary,” he added. Talking to WealthPK, Shaukat Ahmed, a cement agency dealer, disagreed with the opinion that the manufacturers and distributors were putting the public safety at risk by hiding the manufacturing and expiry dates. He argued that the architects, contractors and engineers check the cement strength before purchase. In case of any complaint, the whole consignment is taken back, he said. However, Shaukat admitted that he had never had a government official visit his shop for monitoring or inspection.

Credit: Independent News Pakistan