Real estate developers turn to Pak, Bangladesh for cement

"A group of builders have already begun importing cement from Pakistan via Kochi port.. Around 20 containers have already reached Kochi. I think this is one of the better modes of importing cement as the cost has escalated", a top official of Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India said on condition of anonymity.

He said the cost of an imported 50 kg cement bag worked out to Rs 190 (in Kerala), compared to Rs 295 in Tamil Nadu.

The steep price hike has even led to many developers holding their projects, a top official of the Builders' Association of India said.

He said a 50 kg bag of cement, priced at around Rs 270 last week,has gone upto Rs 295 per bag this week. "The Central and State governments should intervene and take steps to bring down price of cement..", Builder's Association of India (Tamil Nadu unit) Honorary Secretary T N Chandrasekaran said.

Stating that lack of demand was also a reason for escalation of costs, he said builders planned to go on an agitation on October 28 in Chennai to highlight their demands.
"We have been asking the government to take some steps for this industry. But they have not done so and therefore we plan to conduct an agitation in Chennai on Oct 28", he said. Chandrasekaran said many developers who have begun projects have put them on hold and only some who had already committed projects had purchased cement at high costs.

He said they were left with no other go but to import cement from neighbouring countries and any builder planning to do so would immediately look at Pakistan and Bangladesh as some of the cement is of good quality.

"But I don't think any developer would take that effort right now as you can't import meagre quantities. Builders will have to import a minimum of 2000 to 3000 million tonnes, not feasible for many of them," he said.

However the benefits for builders are they would get a cement bag for around only Rs 160-170, he said."But the process for importing it is not easy. There are so many formalities before importing", he said.

An industry source said cement demand in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka this year was 57 million tons and was expected to touch 67-68 million tonnes in 2011

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