At a time when offices of builders with projects in and around city were registering a rise in footfall and more enquiries turning into transactions, the rise in construction material costs has come to trouble the builders' community.
The pricing of cement has crawled up slowly to around Rs.260 per bag over the weeks at a time when many projects, delayed over last two years, were looking at completion and after finishing slab work were moving towards finishing jobs.
“A cement bag which cost us Rs.130 or Rs.140 a few months ago now costs us almost double and it is pinching our budget and efforts to complete the projects and handover,” rues a builder. This has prompted the builders to work out the possibilities of joining hands together and explore alternatives to acquire cement at a ‘reasonable price'.
From checking the possibilities of importing cement in bulk, to forming a consortium and approaching leading cement industries with their bulk requirements seeking reduced pricing are some of the options.
There is a section of builders that wants to make an issue out of the cement prices and stop construction for some time to draw the attention of not only government but also general public. “From Rs.120 to Rs.140 and to Rs.160, the prices kept rising over the weeks and now a cement bag is coming at Rs.260. How are the builders supposed to manage with this cost escalation,” says C. Prabhakara Rao, President, Greater Hyderabad Builders Federation.
The cement industry has its own counter. “Did we complain when builders kept escalating property prices and sold at exorbitant prices during the boom?” asks a representative from the cement industry.
Forced to bring down the property prices, builders who acquired land at high cost during the boom phase were struggling to find a way out. “Only cement and steel comes from organised sector where as the rest of their cost range from labour component to sand to timber or even sanitary ware is from unorganised end.
Since the cost factor from unorganised sector cannot be checked, they are after us,” he says.