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House building in Pakistan: a dream in 2008

LAHORE: Like other sectors of economy, the construction sector is also facing the aftermath of unprecedented price-hike in recent years. The hard-hit is the cost of material followed by the costs of transportation and the labour involved in various areas of building and construction.

In this regard, cement is posing a serious threat to those who are venturing into construction projects. A standard bag of cement is being sold at Rs 400 and Rs 410 against Rs 370 and Rs 380 while its shortage has further intensified the crisis with hoarders creating an artificial deficiency to mint more money.

The iron used in windows, doors and gates among others is already beyond the buying power of a middle-class man following which an iron gate of 10 ft now costs Rs 24,000 to Rs 30,000. The cost of T-iron has jumped from Rs 40,000 per tonne to Rs 84,000 per tonne in the last few months. The same is the case with windows.

A truck of bricks carrying 4,000 bricks of grade 1 before was Rs 11,900 and now its price has rocketed up to Rs 14,000 while grade 2 bricks are now available for Rs 25,00 per thousand. The same was available at Rs 2150 a few weeks back. By a general idea, a house of three beds, drawing, dinning and joint bathrooms require 30,000 bricks.

Similarly, the price of granual (crush) has also gone up as the trucks fetching the material from northern Punjab have increased their fare considerably. A truck having 900 ft of granual costs Rs 24,750 against its earlier price of Rs 20,700. A per ft price of granual has increased from Rs 23 to Rs 27.

Sand price has also climbed on account of increase in transportation charges. A premium quality sand trolley is available for Rs 1200 against its previous price of Rs 1050. A kassu mixed and trolley is being sold for Rs 10,000. It was previously sold for Rs 1850.

The cost of bitumen is touching the sky especially after a change in the Attock Refinery and National Refinery Karachi. A 12 kg tin of bitumen which was sold in the market two months ago for Rs 300 is now available at Rs 450. The low quality Iranian bitumen is also available in the

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