New Delhi: For the first time, the cement stakeholders have come together to take on the builders and Credai (Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Associations of India) to express their grievances. This comes on the back of union minister Nitin Gadkari being vocal about cartels in cement and steel industry due to which prices of raw materials have shot up exorbitantly.
On Tuesday, the newly-formed SICMA or South India Cement Manufacturers Association chief N Srinivasan said it was grossly unfair to blame those in the cement business. It is a “responsible” industry that has been involved in nation-building efforts, besides being a mass employment generator.
In fact, the cost of a cement bag when seen in the context of per sq ft price of construction, works out to Rs 200 assuming that a bag of cement costs Rs 400. So even a marginal hike of Rs 50 or more in cement could in no way justify the unfair prices being charged by the builders, in the range of Rs 8,000 to Rs 10,000 sq ft and more.
Taking potshots at the builders for the highly-priced apartments/flats, Srinivasan explained that the rationale of forming a south association is to locally resolve issues. For instance, the Telangana government had a housing scheme for the economically-weaker sections, where players like India Cements were offering their products at a lesser price. The Vice-Chairman and MD of the company also said the availability of limestone in Andhra and Telangana made that region a raw material hub.