The Builders Association of India has protested against the hike in cement price. A statement issued by Balagopal Menon, chairman of the Kerala centre of the association, said that cement prices ranged between Rs.145 and Rs.170 per bag between 2003 and 2005, but the prices shot up to Rs.210 and Rs.225 between January and April this year.
The steep increase has caused a huge loss to the builders. It also led to cost and time overruns for all infrastructure works. The price rise is unjustified, according to Mr. Menon.
The operating profit of leading cement manufacturers has doubled during the fourth quarter of 2005-06 compared to the third quarter, he said.
Mr. Menon also spurned the Cement Manufacturers Association’s offer to reduce five per cent price for the Government purchases.
The steel prices have also increased by 50 per cent during the last eight months.
The price hike of cement and steel has paralysed the construction industry, which is the second largest employment generating industry, he said.