Construction sector struggles as quarry products prices rise in Kerala

CM Vinod Kumar 

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Representational Image | Photo: Mathrubhumi

Kozhikode: As the activities in the quarry-crusher sector are back on track after the end of nine-day strike, the hike in price of materials is posing a major challenge for the construction sector. Reportedly, there has been a hike of Rs 5 per cubic feet for all quarry products.

The prices were hiked in accordance with the royalty and fees, after holding talks with the revenue minister and industries minister on May 3, said quarry owners.

The strike, led by the quarry-crusher coordination committee, was launched on April 17 aiming to legalise mining on patta lands, retain the distance limit of quarries at 50 metres and issue an NOC for mining on revenue lands.

Although the strike was withdrawn on the basis of the promise by the minister on April 26, quarry units could not be operated owing to the protests by trade union organisations. In many districts, the price of materials went up after the strike.

Following this, several labourers’ organisations and youth associations began protests and the minister held talks with quarry owners. “A decision was made amid the talks to not raise the price of products by more than five rupees,” said the quarry owners.

Currently, there are 630 quarries and 1,200 crusher units in the state (5,964 in 2015). Around 130 quarries had to be shut down in Thrissur and Ernakulam. At present, most of the quarry products in districts such as Wayanad, Kasaragod and Palakkad are brought from Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

“The quarry sector, which offers an annual revenue of Rs 5,000 crore to the state treasury and provides livelihood to around 40 lakh people, is now struggling to survive,” said MM Yusuf, former MLA and state quarry-crusher coordination chairman.

According to MK Babu, quarry-crusher co-ordination committee representative, if the discrepancies in the order issued on March 31 are resolved, then the price of materials could be lowered.

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