Hike in brick prices lead to rise in construction cost

Kapil Dutta

Greater Noida, Dec. 31 -- The cost of production of building projects has reached an all-time high due to the rise in prices of bricks from Rs. 3600 to Rs. 6200 per thousand bricks.

The rise comes after the brick kilns halted their production due to the new norms of procuring permission from the Ministry of Environment.

On Sunday, the Noida Building Contractors Association wrote to the district magistrate for an early resolution of the problem. "Contractors have stopped work at the sites as they can not bear the loss. We have requested the DM for early resolution of problem so that the brick kilns start production. Only then will the prices decline," said Anurag Tyagi, association representative.

"A day before, I bought the bricks at a rate of Rs. 6200 per thousand. Last week it was Rs. 5800. Before the new norms, the rate was Rs. 3600. If the brick kilns remain closed, the prices are expected to cross Rs. 7000 in the next fortnight," said Mahinder Awana, a resident of Sector 20, Noida.

"Due to increase in the brick prices, I have suspended the construction of my house," said Nirmal Singh resident of Sector 105.

"Under the new norms, environment clearance is required even for mining in less than five hectares of land. Following this, all brick kilns are closing down. Brick kiln operators say they should be exempted from obtaining permission from the Ministry of Environment for earth excavation. The State Level Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) has written to the Ministry of Environment & Forest suggesting simplification of norms for brick kilns," Ashish Kumar, mining inspector, told Hindustan Times on Sunday.

"For projects having greater than 50 hectares, a clearance from ministry is required. For projects less than 50 hectares, the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority is empowered to give clearances," said Kumar.

"Over a hundred brick kiln owners have submitted applications to SEIAA for brick earth mining. The state level committee has decided to exempt the brick earth mining in less than 5 hectare area from EIA report and public hearing. The procedure too has been simplified. SEIAA has now sought Ministry's approval," said Kumar.

"We are facing financial crisis as we cannot start work without clearance but we have paid advance to the labour," said brick kiln owner, Dinesh Awana.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.