Govt fails to regulate price, quantity of construction material in Kashmir

Consumers aghast, demand action

Irfan Tramboo
SRINAGAR, Nov 3: Authorities in Kashmir have miserably failed in regulating the prices of construction materials with people being charged exorbitantly.
Excelsior has learnt that one truck of sand which cost Rs 6000 in January is now being sold at Rs 13000 in district Srinagar that too load has been reduced by over 50 feet. Further, a truck of bajri which used to cost Rs 4800 earlier, is now being sold at Rs 7500.
The rate of one truck of bricks also varies in district Srinagar as well as in other districts. In Srinagar, one truck full of bricks is being sold between Rs 30,000 and 32000.
However, a contractor, who has taken up several construction works, said that one truck of bricks is being sold at Rs 35,000. “There is no control on prices. They charge at will”, he added.
He also said that the prices are not regulated at any level. “With the beginning of this year, the rates have gone up and there is no regulation,” he said.
He added that contractors have filed the tenders based on earlier rates. “With the rates going up, we might end up stopping all the construction works for a while; the Government must act tough against it,” he said
In Baramulla, one truck of sand is being sold between Rs 12000-14000 while as Nallah Bajri is being sold at Rs 10,000 per truck. The same was being sold at Rs 7000 earlier.
“The rates do not remain constant in the district; the rates even vary in Baramulla town and the outskirts,” a resident of Baramulla said.
Apart from over-charging, there are also complaints that the materials that are delivered are not up to the mark regarding the quantity.
Such complaints are widely being received from the consumers who state that ideally, one truck of sand has to carry 180 cubic feet of the material; however, what is being delivered to them is 140 cubic feet.
In bricks as well, there are quality issues that are being reported by the consumers. In this regard, the Department of Legal Metrology has penalized several brick kilns. However, they continue to sold low quality material at higher rates.
As per the rates and dimensions for the bricks that have been finalized by the authorities, one truck of bricks carrying 3000 should cost Rs 21,000 and about the weight and dimensions- the weight of a brick should be 3 kgs and should be 23 cms in length, 11 cms in width and 7 cms in height.
There have been several violations concerning dimensions, several brick kilns have been penalized in district Budgam alone by the concerned department.
The Department of Legal Metrology said that fixing the rates was not its domain. An official said that they are doing everything to keep the construction materials up to the standard mark.
Mohammad Akbar Wani, Controller Legal Metrology J&K told Excelsior that they are trying to make sure that the standard quality is maintained across and as a part of that they are carrying out frequent checks across Kashmir.
“The rates are not up to us, but we are making sure that the standard quantity is maintained; to ensure that we are carrying out frequent checks,” he said.