Gandhinagar, Feb 12 (IANS) Real estate developers and contractors in Gujarat on Friday participated in the one-day nationwide strike to protest against the ‘exorbitant’ and ‘unacceptable’ price hike of cement and steel.
Construction work on more than 22,000 sites came to a standstill opposing the artificial price hike by the cement and steel companies. The associations on strike also demanded that the government should constitute a cement regulatory authority for price regulation.
The Builders’ Association of India (BAI), Gujarat Contractors Association (GCA), CREDAI Gujarat, GIHED and the Association of Consulting Civil Engineers (India) supported the strike call on Friday, opposing the exhorbitant price hike by the cement and steel manufacturers.
“The price of cement has been hiked exhorbitantly and unexpectedly by about 200 to 300 per cent without any valid reason. As per RERA regulations, one cannot hike the prices which have been committed to the customers. We have been requesting the government to resolve this matter, but till date nothing has been done. The government should regulate the prices,” said Jaxay Shah, Chairman, Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India (CREDAI), Gujarat.
Work was stalled on at least 22,000 construction sites across the state, impacting more than 40 lakh daily-wage labourers, according to the construction industry.
“Today’s strike received a fantastic response, not only in Gujarat but across the country. In every town and city, the real estate developers approached the district authorities and handed over a memorandum of our demands,” added Shah.
Meanwhile, CREDAI Gujarat President Ashish Patel said, “After the lockdown, the construction activity in the state has increased by 35 to 40 per cent. The cement and steel industry wants to cash in on the situation. Because of the artificial price hike, there has been a minimum of 15 to 20 per cent rise in construction costs. The government projects are also impacted.
“We were assured by Union Minister Nitin Gadkari that the issue will be resolved. However, over a month has passed by, but the situation still remains the same. The government should form a regulatory body to govern steel and cement prices.”
“Turnover of Rs 5,000 crore has been affected due to the strike. We will be paying the skilled and unskilled labourers who supported us in the strike which itself will cost us Rs 5,000 crore. We hope that today’s strike will have a positive impact on the government and hopefully our issues will be resolved,” said Patel.