Alleging price cartelisation by the steel and cement companies, builders across the country on Friday observed nation-wide bandh. The one-day agitation was held under the banner of Builders Association of India (BAI) wherein other bodies also took active part.
In Nagpur, the builders raised slogans against the soaring prices of steel and cement. They also submitted a memorandum to Nagpur District Collector Ravindra Thakre highlighting the need of regulator for steel and cement sectors so as to control price manipulation. Many leading builders and other stakeholders of the city staged demonstrations at District Collector’s office, Civil Lines under the Builders Association of India Nagpur and Butibori Centre.
To mark the protest, construction activities at their sites were shut down.
Later on addressing a press conference, Chairman of BAI, Nagpur Centre - Anil Nair, said that the builders are raising the demand of immediate appointment of a regulatory authority in cement and steel sectors to curb the malpractice of the companies which is ultimately troubling the common man.
The prices of cement and steel have seen sharp hikes. On Monday, steel was sold at a price of Rs 65,000 per tonne (including 18% GST for 8mm bars) while cement saw a price tag of Rs 300 per bag (including GST).
BAI has been continuously raising voice against the alleged price carteling and unnatural price hike by the cement and steel companies. It has been fighting the legal battle and has approached the Government authorities against it.
The BAI has strongly demanded the constitution of regulatory authority for the sectors. Pramod Devalkar, Chairman of Butibori Center of BAI, said that Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari had also recently alleged that cement and steel companies were indulging in cartelisation. Prashant Wasade, Secretary of BAI Nagpur Centre, said that construction is one of the most important economic activities contributing maximum GDP growth and accounts for more than 50 per cent of total plan outlay. It has a forward and backward link with more than 400 allied industries. It employs more than 60 million workers and next only to agriculture in employment. “However, the unnatural price hike of cement and steel is affecting one and all,” he added. Sunil Mishra, Praveen Mahajan, Pradeep Nagrale, Abhay Garde and other office- bearers of the association were also present on the occasion.