KOCHI: The construction sector in Kerala will shut down for three days from Monday in response to a ‘construction bandh’ called by the Confederation of Construction Organisations, which consists of nearly two dozen associations such as those of architects, house painters, builders and quarry operators.
The bandh is to press the government to take pro-active steps to end the crisis in the construction sector and in support of the CCO’s 35-point charter of demands. The sector has been urging the government to declare construction as an industry and to drop the Kerala Real Estate Bill, which the CCO leaders say will ruin the industry.
The leaders claimed that the construction industry’s turnover currently was upwards of Rs 50,000 crore a year and that it employed 1.5 million people. It made huge contributions to the exchequer. But the government is not taking steps for the growth and smooth functioning of the industry, they said.
Cost escalation caused by rapid jumps in material costs was ruining the industry as a huge chunk of construction materials are imported from other States, they said. Not even 10 per cent of the annual cement demand is manufactured in Kerala.
In the past one year, the prices have risen by more than a half. Land cost is also leapfrogging, the leaders said.
Added to this, the Real Estate Bill, if passed by the Assembly, will put heavy curbs on the sector, they added.
By declaring construction an industry and setting up a government department for the development and regulation of the industry, many of the procedural hurdles can be lifted, the CCO leaders said.