Mysore, Apr. 3 (RK&KMC)- Dream homes are to be dearer in city and elsewhere owing to the unprecedented hike in the prices of cement, steel and sand, the three main construction materials.

On an average, a moderate house on a 30x40 site, having a floor area of 900 sqft, would require about 320 bags of cement and approximately two tonnes of steel. Accordingly, at the present rate of Rs. 250 per 50 kg bag of cement, Rs. 80,000 will be spent on cement alone and another Rs. 80,000 on steel (present rate being Rs. 40,000 a tonne in city).

In case of sand, price rise is directly proportional to the hike in the price of diesel. Price of a truckload of sand would go up by a few hundred rupees each time the price of diesel is hiked, even marginally.

At present in our city, a full truckload (6ft depth) costs Rs. 10,500 while a half-load (3ft depth) costs Rs. 7,000. The rates are revised after the issuance of permits by the Mines and Geology Department.

In Bangalore, the price of sand, which was available at Rs. 9,000 to Rs. 14,000, has been increased by Rs. 500 per load.

N.S. Muralidhar, former Chairman of Builders Association of India (BAI), Mysore Centre and Proprietor, Shyam Steels, near Vivekanandanagar Circle in city, told Star of Mysore that a tonne of Thermo Mechanically Tested (TMT) steel, also known as construction steel, which was priced at Rs. 28,500 a tonne a month ago, now costs Rs. 40,000. "The Steel Authority of India (SAIL), citing higher input costs as the reason, has effected a price rise of Rs. 2000 per tonne yesterday," Muralidhar said adding from Monday onwards, the cost of steel will be Rs. 42,000 a tonne.

"Increase in the price of coal, used in steel production and the problem of power shortage has contributed to the recent price rise," said Muralidhar and added, "In summer, construction activities are on the rise; so also is power problem. Hence, there is more demand and less production, leading to the steep price rise."

"Steel prices had touched a record Rs. 52,000 per tonne about 18 months ago. It came down to Rs. 28,000 in February last and post budget, rose to Rs. 42,000," said Ashok, Proprietor of Neminath Steels in Nazarbad and added, "There are a 100 dealers of steel in city, selling seven to eight tonnes a day on an average."

M.S. Nandakumar, former State Chairman of BAI, when contacted, regretted that the increase in house construction costs would definitely affect the prices of new houses.

Expressing concern over the steep hike in prices, Nanda-kumar blamed the cartel of cement and steel companies of taking undue advantage of the increase in sales taxes and fuel prices.

"The cement companies hiked prices between 3 to 4 per cent while the steel companies have raised their prices by about 18 to 20 per cent through three price revisions during March alone," Nandakumar said.

S.R. Swamy, Chairman of BAI Mysore Centre, in reply to a query from Star of Mysore, said that the hike in prices of construction materials will adversely affect the builders as they will not be in a position to pass on the price rise to the end-users immediately. The builders will have to honour the commitments made earlier and bear with the losses to be incurred due to the unprecedented price rise, he said.

"The 'escalation clause' in the contract provides for altering the amount signed in case of such price fluctuations, failing which the contractor will have to bear the loss," Swamy stated.

Tailpiece: Dream homes are for those who dare to dream and for others, it would remain just a dream.

Courtesy : Star Of Mysore