Know why Kerala quarry owners are on strike

Kerala Quarry owners strike continues. They are protesting the new quarry policy by the state government which raise fees and royalties

   
Kerala Quarry owners strike

On Wednesday, the Kerala Quarry and Crusher Coordination Committee’s strike entered its third day, severely affecting the construction industry. The strike began at midnight on Sunday.

The escalating strike is likely to bring the state’s construction sector to a halt due to a lack of construction materials. As a result, lakhs of unskilled workers, including migrant workers, may go out of work.

Know why Kerala quarry owners are on strike.

Why quarry owners are on warpath

According to the committee, all 636 quarries and 1100 crushers have been closed since Sunday. The committee is protesting the new quarry policy implemented by the Pinarayi Vijayan government. This includes the decision to raise fees across the board in the construction industry, from issuing permits for new constructions to collecting royalties from nearly 630 quarry owners. 

Quarry owners on strike are demanding to reinstate permission for mining in revenue land.

New policy is unfavourable

M K Babu, general convener of the Committee, said the new rates that have been levied on them are “unrealistic” and one which will “finish off” the construction sector.

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“The increase in royalty is from Rs 24 per tonne to Rs 48, security fee has gone up from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 5 lakh. With regards to the fines imposed on violation of the Lease Act, it has been jacked up from Rs 25,000 to Rs 5 lakh. The fine for over-mining has gone up from Rs 72 per tonne to Rs 240. And with regards the load, a truck that has a capacity of eight tonnes can now fill only four tonnes,” said Babu.

They have written a letter to the Chief Minister to consider the immediate revision of the new fees, failing which they will have no other option but to close down their business.

The fresh permit fees and a comparison of the present rate in the three other South Indian states have added to the misery of construction sector.

While the application fee for a new building in Kerala has been jacked up from Rs 50 to Rs 5,000, in all the three South Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh it’s free.

Likewise the permit fee in Kerala for every square metre is Rs 200, while in TN it’s Rs 12.50 per sq.m, in Karnataka it’s Rs 20 and in AP it’s Rs 30.

And a brief comparison of construction materials, also shows Kerala leads the pack as one cubic feet of M-Sand in Kerala costs Rs 81, at Karnataka it’s Rs 38 per cft and in TN it’s Rs 50.

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A cft of blue metal in Kerala costs Rs 75, Karnataka- Rs 28 and TN it’s Rs 38.

Similarly, the charges levied by the Real Estate Regulatory Authority the scene is no different as in Kerala it’s Rs 10 per sqm for land and Rs 50 per sqft for building, while in TN and Karnataka it’s Rs 5 for land and Rs 10 for building.

A builder on condition of anonymity said in a few days time, the construction will come to an end, as the stock of construction materials at ongoing construction sites will get over in a few days.

“After that, it’s going to be tough as thousands of labourers will have to go without wages and the game plan which is done by ruling parties is every time there is hike, the affected parties join together and then a discussion takes place and things are settled at a ‘price’. This time so far no such move has started. Things appear very bleak,” the builder alleged.

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