Civil engineers say this may spell doom for the already retarded industry

Sharp and sudden rise in the price of cement, sand, and PVC products has upset the public and builders alike. The timing of the price rise has stunned civil engineers and public who find no reason for the increase.

The price of cement has risen by 25 per cent in 10 days. So is the case with brick that has become dearer by 10 to 15 per cent, while the price of river sand has shot up by 30 per cent in the past fortnight.

“Cement that was quoted at Rs.270 a bag of 50 kg has shot up to Rs.350 a bag and is likely to rise further in the next week. River sand that was available for Rs.6,500 a load of 350 cubic feet has seen a very sharp rise of Rs.2,500 in the last 15 days to cost Rs. 9,000 now. PVC products too have witnessed a 20 per cent across-the-board rise in price. All that add up to retardation in the construction industry that is already reeling under the negative impact of numerous factors,” said A. Ramaswamy, president, Karur District Civil Engineers Association.

Not only that, all construction material such as hollow block, solid blocks, and paver blocks that are manufactured using sand and cement too have seen a sharp rise in price. The cascading effect has really hit the industry hard, Mr. Ramswamy says.

While the rise in the price of aggregates has hit the builders hard, the worst sufferers are those who have taken up construction of individual houses. Unable to proceed because of the huge variation in cost during estimation and actual construction, the sudden rise has threatened to end their projects mid way.

“Not all buildings are constructed by civil engineers on contract basis. Those who venture to build their own buildings, albeit under the supervision of qualified civil engineers, are at their wits’ end unable to absorb cost escalation.

The professional builders and realtors might pass on the difference to the clients and buyers but to whom can we turn to bear our burgeoning loss?,” asks D. Manikadan of Sakthi Nagar of Karur.

Unlike Mr. Manikandan, not many individuals are willing to proceed with the construction of their buildings as the activity had been stopped in many sites manned by owners themselves.

“Where is the need for the cement price rise today? Have the governments slapped any additional taxation or levy in the past month?

“Actually, we all know that the off take from the major cement plants have more than halved in the last four months and they have cut production hugely to save costs. Monsoon is active and construction activity is sluggish.

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