SRINAGAR/June ,30: Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party (JKAP) on Tuesday asked the government to constitute a full-fledged Regulatory Commission to control unprecedented hike in prices of building material which is giving a tough time to the people besides hampering overall developmental activities across Jammu and Kashmir.
In a joint statement issued here, former legislators and JKAP leaders Mohammad Ashraf Mir and Abdul Rahim Rather have also demanded that a body of experts including representatives of various construction material producing associations be also formed to find tangible solutions to the issues faced by the construction sector from time to time. As compared to last year, the JKAP leaders observed that there has been a record hike of at least 60 per cent in costs of building materials like bricks, stones, sand, gravel and aggregate without any solid justification. The JKAP leaders observed that it is not the general public only but the uncertainty in prices of raw materials has badly hit the contractors who take up works based on a rate they foresee. “The indiscriminate rise in prices of construction material may lead the common people and contractors into debt traps. So this unjustified price rise has badly hampered the overall developmental activities both in private and public sectors,” they remarked.
The JKAP leaders demanded that the regulatory commission if constituted by the government should be also mandated to review the ban on the process of extraction of building material in order to ensure maximum participation of local contractors and labourers that can eventually bring down the costs of building material.
“The government introduced e-auction for mining activities has only favoured outside J&K contractors giving a death blow to the locals associated with this business. With the result the whole extraction activity has come to a standstill, not only disrupting the government and private constructions but have skyrocketed the prices of raw material for the local population,” they remarked. They observed that since then the local contractors are not being allowed extraction of key construction material like sand, gravel, boulders, aggregate, etc, the ban has caused acute scarcity of raw material for developmental activities besides rendering thousands of local youth associated with extraction and mining business jobless.
“The government should revisit this entire bidding process for mining activities and ensure mass participation of local contractors and labourers in it. Till then the government should allow the local contractors to go for extraction of the construction material on the royalty basis which was in vogue prior to October 2019,” they maintained.