High cement prices hit construction works

Representational image.

Representational image.   | Photo Credit: R.M. Rajarathinam

Spiralling cement prices for the last one month have stalled nearly 30 % of the construction activities in Coimbatore, according to members of the joint action committee of construction sector.

K. Chinnaswamy, chairman of the Builders’ Association of India, Coimbatore chapter, along with representatives of six associations related to the construction sector, told presspersons here on Saturday that the price of one bag of cement was ₹270 a month ago and the retail prices had touched ₹410 a bag. This had impacted construction costs and stalled on-going projects, even smaller, independent house constructions. Portland cement used in readymix concrete was not available in the retail market.

The construction sector has not seen a spurt in demand and yet there is shortage in availability and prices are increasing. The cement manufacturers are not giving any specific reason for the hike in prices.

With escalation in project costs, the cost of construction for residential projects will increase. Builders and developers have no option but to increase the price. Though there is no ban on import of cement, it is not practical, he said.

“Last time, when we imported cement jointly, the cement landed in the port and domestic manufacturers reduced the price below the price of the imported cement,” he said. Further, cement imported from Pakistan was purchased by builders in the north. After the Pulwama attack, the duty on cement imports from Pakistan is 200 % and so there are no imports.

The Government should set up a regulatory body to oversee cement prices. Both, the Centre and State governments, should take steps to bring down the prices. “We are trying to meet the Chief Minister. We will decide the future course of action after meeting the CM,” Mr. Chinnaswamy said.

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Printable version | Mar 30, 2020 8:22:08 PM |

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