Greater Vijayawada Builders’ Association (GVBA) will soon approach the Monopolistic Restrictive Trade Practice (MRTP) panel to lodge a complaint against the cement companies in the State.

Addressing a press conference here on Thursday, GVBA chairman Gadde Rajaling alleged that the cement companies had formed a cartel to increase the price of cement and it would largely hamper the growth of the infrastructure sector. GVBA working chairman A. Naga Malleswara Rao pointed out that it was for the first time that the cement price had escalated during the monsoon period. “The price of cement falls during the monsoon period, as the construction activity takes a break due to rains, but for the first time in my career spanning over three decades it has risen sharply. According to an expert committee, the retail price of one bag of cement should not exceed Rs.200 and the current price is ranged between RS.320 and Rs.350 and it is predicted that it will touch Rs.400 in a couple of days,” he said. The members of the GVBA alleged that the cement companies purposefully reduced the production by 30 per cent to create an artificial scarcity in the market.

Rollback sought

According to Mr. Rajaling, Vijayawada immediately needs housing for about 5,000 families and 10 lakh square feet of commercial space and the GVBA was keen on addressing the issue if the government took up the cement price problem with the manufacturers.

“We demand an immediate rollback of the price or subsidy from the government. Not only cement, the price of other construction material -- sand and steel -- has risen by over four folds in the last couple of years. If the price rise goes unchecked we may not be able to meet the challenges,” said Mr. Rajaling.

Mr. Malleswara Rao pointed out that the material cost in construction industry was linked to many factors such as dollar and rupee value fluctuations and petroleum prices. “Creating an artificial scarcity to hike prices is unethical business practice. The government should intervene, as over 20 allied industries are linked to the infrastructure sector and all will be hit because of the issue,” he said. The GVBA’s representative to AP Builders Federation, M.S. Murthy, and GVBA’s general secretary Subba Rao were also present.

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