They eagerly await decision on separate statehood for Telangana
The New Year has brought a mixed bag of emotions for builders in the city. The builders’ fraternity has been lying low for some time owing to an upward swing in prices of raw material for building construction.
A few of them feel the construction industry, which was bouncing along the bottom, will start to come up, while others maintain that not much has changed at the ground-level.
Leading the optimistic group is senior builder and president of Greater Vijayawada Builders’ Association Gadde Rajaling. “We finally have something to cheer about. The near-total lull witnessed in construction industry in last six to eight months will end soon. Low demand and declining prices amid slowdown in construction activity has finally given way to fresh enquiries that indicate new investments in this sector. The soaring prices of sand hit construction industry so badly that it was almost impossible for us to take up any new venture,” says Mr. Rajaling.
According to him, emergence of a fresh possibility of formation of a separate Telangana State has rekindled hope. “2013 seems to be our year. Besides the fact that building material cost is within reach now, the recent developments indicate that a separate Telangana may happen very soon, which is yet another reason for us to feel positive,” he says.
Contradicting his contention, former general secretary of Vijayawada Builders’ Association (VBA) which has now merged with the Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Associations of India (CREDAI), Ramana Rao argues that iron and cement alone can’t raise a building. Prices of other material have increased three times in addition to the 20-25 per cent increase in labour cost every year.
Citing non-availability of vacant land in the city limits as the biggest hurdle to start new ventures, he says most developers are moving towards the fringe areas. “Hundreds of completed flats are lying vacant on the outskirts. These unoccupied flats and the few running projects can cater to the needs of buyers for at least next two years,” he says.
With regard to Telangana, he dubs it as a government game plan to keep people in the dark until elections. “If a separate State is carved out, builders will certainly gain,” he says.
Ch. Sudhakar, also a former general secretary of the VBA blames the Urban Development Authority for ‘failure’ to develop the city’s outer periphery. “Dearth of UDA funds to develop the periphery areas has led to the present crisis,” he opines.