Members of Civil Engineers Association, Builders Association, Construction Workers Union, Flat Promoters Union and Chamber of Commerce and Industries here sat on a fast on Tuesday protesting against the rise in price of cement and other construction materials.
They demanded that the Central and State governments take steps to bring down the price of cement from Rs.300 a bag to Rs.145, price of brick from Rs.7 a piece to Rs.3.50 and that of iron from Rs.40,000 a tonne to Rs.33,0000 .
They also demanded the government to include cement under the list of essential commodities , fix its price, establish a Cement Regulatory Authority and initiate action on cement mill owners who sell it at exorbitant rates.
PLA.Chidambaram, president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, inaugurated the fast. N.T.Balasundaram, president of Civil Engineers Association, T.Rajasekaran, president, Builders Association, A..Kanagaraj, co-ordinator, Construction Workers Association, Padmanabhan, vice-president of Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Pandal R.Siva, industrialist, participated in the fast.
Mr.Balasundaram said that hike in the price of construction materials has affected development activities of the government and people's construction activities. Cement price has skyrocketed, though there is no hike in input costs or state levies, he added.
The Tamil Nadu Civil Engineers Association staged a token fast against the spurt in cement prices, here on Tuesday. The strike was a part of the state-wide agitation called by the Federation of all Civil Engineers Association of Tamil Nadu.
R.T.S.Madhavan, President, Tamil Nadu Civil Engineers Association said the sporadic price hike has been affecting their credibility, both in terms of project completion and quality of work.
“The price of cement was Rs.160 a month ago, and as of date the price is Rs.290 in Tamil Nadu. However, cement costs just Rs.170 in other states like Andhra Pradesh.” “We are unable to accomplish projects at the estimated costs due to the escalation of costs . Quality of work gets compromised, and we suffer huge losses,” Mr.Madhavan said.
The day was marked by different forms of protests and construction activity was stalled through out the district. The hunger strike was led by M.K.Naushad, President, Mayiladuthurai Civil Engineers Association and a protest rally was organised in Sirkazhi.