15.09.2022: Punjab brick kiln owners suspend sales in protest against Centre

Already grappling with skyrocketing prices of raw materials, the construction industry is set to take another serious hit with brick kiln owners suspending sales in protest against the central government.

Punjab brick kiln owners are observing a six-day strike since September 12 against the Centre for increasing the goods and service tax (GST) on bricks from 5% to 12% besides a sharp hike in coal prices. The Punjab brick owners’ association has announced that sales at all 2,700 brick kilns across the state will remain completely suspended during the strike.

“We are supporting the decision made by the national union of kiln owners to protest against the policies hurting our businesses. On April 1, the government increased the GST on bricks and coal, which was earlier available at 8,000 to 10,000 per tonne, is now costing 26,000- 28,000,” said Ramesh Mohi, president of Punjab Brick Kiln Owners’ Association.

Mohi, who is also the president of the Ludhiana unit of the association, said, “There were 300 brick kilns in Ludhiana district which have reduced to 180 now because of the government policies. Price of bricks has also increased from 5,000 to 6,500 in recent months.”

The suspension of sale of bricks is also set to affect the businesses dealing in the construction material.

Jasmeet Singh, who owns a building material store at Civil Lines, said, “Our sales are already at an all-time low due to a threefold spike in the price of sand and gravel in recent months. With bricks now becoming unavailable, most of the ongoing projects have come to a standstill.” He said that labourers who work at construction sites on daily wages have lost their livelihood and many were returning to their home towns.

Source: The Hindustan Times 

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