Monday, 30th October 2017

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Crisis hits Assam real estate

The Assam Real Estate and Infrastructure Developers Association (Areida) on Sunday said the real estate industry in the state is facing an "alarming" situation because of acute scarcity and unabated increase in the prices of sand and stone chips.

By RAJIV KONWAR in Guwahati
  • Published 4.06.18
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P.K. Sharma (left) in Guwahati on Sunday. Picture by UB Photos

Guwahati: The Assam Real Estate and Infrastructure Developers Association (Areida) on Sunday said the real estate industry in the state is facing an "alarming" situation because of acute scarcity and unabated increase in the prices of sand and stone chips.

"Small quantities of chips and sand have been trickling in but at highly inflated prices. Sand and chips, which used to cost Rs 1,100 per cm and Rs 1,500 per cm, are now selling at Rs 1,800 and Rs2,800 per cm respectively," Areida's president P.K. Sharma said.

"The quantities available even at these inflated prices are grossly insufficient, many projects are stalled and workers are being laid off. Such price escalation and project delay will ultimately add a huge cost burden on home buyers. The adverse impact of the situation on the economy is huge as construction is the core of any developmental or industrial activity," Sharma said.

The crisis started last year after many stone quarries in Assam closed down owing to a prohibition on blasting of hills. This left the construction industry dependent on Meghalaya for bulk supply of stone chips. However, a similar clampdown in the neighbouring state earlier this year created a serious crisis.

Sharma said the real estate sector has otherwise received a boost across the country, with as many as 20 different support initiatives notified by the Centre."Unfortunately, while other states have made significant progress, taking advantage of the government's policies, we in Assam have languished. It is only this year that it has been possible for a few affordable housing projects to be announced, after years of relentless pursuit by us," Sharma said.

Areida welcomed the state government's announcement that the revised Building Construction Regulation Bylaws will be notified after the next cabinet meeting as Assam is the only state in the country where the outdated building bylaws are still in force. All other states have revised the rules over a year ago according to guidelines of the Centre.

Sharma said they have been trying to meet chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal for the past few months but have not got an appointment.