Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, September 12
The mining mafia seems to be ruling the roost yet again as the prices of mined construction material have gone through the roof.
In the past one month, the prices of sand and gravel have gone up by almost 50 per cent. Till mid-August, the price of sand was Rs 22-25 per cubic foot, which has now gone up to Rs 30-33 per cubic foot. Similarly, the price of gravel has witnessed a steep rise from Rs 18-20 to Rs 28-30 per cubic foot.
The prices started increasing dramatically after mid-August as the owners started hoarding material on the pretext of a ban on mining sites by the court. In the past one week alone, the prices have witnessed around 25 per cent hike.
“Earlier, we used to source the material from Mubarkpur, near Dera Bassi, and Bharatgarh and Anandpur Sahib, near Ropar, which consumers in the area around Chandigarh were able to afford as the carriage cost was low. These sites are no more supplying the material. The crusher owners have held back the stock and jacked up the prices,” said Jaggi, a supplier in Sector 88, Mohali. Builders and those constructing individual houses have been hit hard. Ranjit Raina, building a house in Sector 115, said when he started the work in February, the price of sand was around Rs 20 per cubic foot. “Now, when I need it the most for plaster work, it is available at Rs 32 per cubic foot,” he said.
A large number of owners and builders have slowed down the pace of construction work as they are waiting for the prices to reduce. Baljinder Singh, owner of BS Construction Company, said they were left with no option but to slow down the pace of work. “Otherwise, it will increase the cost of construction,” he said. Experts said if the current scenario continued, it may hit the skilled and unskilled labourers hard.
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