Kutch builders seek check on cement prices

Kutch builders seek check on cement prices
Published: 18 December 2003

Even as reconstruction activity in the earthquake-ravaged Kutch district of India is still on, contractors have sought the intervention of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi to check the prices of cement which have increased by over 30 per cent over the past fortnight.  Contractors and builders of Kutch, in a letter to Modi, have demanded that the state government must intervene and check the hike in cement prices as the industry in Kutch was hit hard. Interestingly, builders and contractors have approached the state government through the Kutch unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party, stating that if adequate political pressure was brought on cement manufacturers, they will not resort to the hike in cement prices.  According to Hiralal Parakh, a contractor, the state government has failed to keep cement prices under control and a 50-kg bag of cement, which cost Rs 90 a fortnight ago, today costs about Rs 120. ³Cement manufacturing companies have formed a cartel and are increasing prices together,² Parakh alleged. Contractors and builders said that with an investment of over Rs 5,000 coming up in the district after tax holidays were announced, construction is a booming activity in the district.  The traders stated that the pace of work in most ongoing projects has already been affected adversely because of the price hike in cement, and if prices continue to go higher, construction activity in the district will be forced to come to a standstill.