L. Renganathan

Industrialists in Karur feel let down by budget proposals

KARUR: Spiralling price of cement has adversely hit construction works in Karur district. Industry people here feel let down by the Union Finance Minister's proposals in the Union Budget to levy an excise of Rs. 600 per tonne for some category of cement in popular use and warn that the move could spell doom for the construction industry in the days ahead.

While smaller civil works such as house construction could see cost inflation of a few thousand rupees, bigger construction works such as textile units, mills and other industries that are under way inn industrialized district such as Karur could suffer cost escalation running to several lakh rupees.

Industry sources point out that the price of cement, which was in the region of Rs. 145 to Rs. 155 per bag a couple of months back, has skyrocketed to more than Rs. 210 at present.

Worse still, the move to levy excise duty of Rs. 600 per tonne on select grade cements that find popular use could lead to further escalation of prices, they argue. "Contrary to our expectations that the budget proposals will provide relief to the construction industry, they will only contribute to a downtrend,'' says the president of the Karur District Civil Engineers' Association, N. Ramanathan.

Nourishing a sense of let down, civil engineers are redrawing their budgets for major works as the calculations have gone awry, courtesy the unbridled cement price rise.