An alleged cartelisation of minor minerals like grits, mixture of soil and crushed stones has led to an increase in the real estate prices of flats. These building construction materials have started costing more due to ‘monopoly’, and have therefore affected the final cost of the flats.
Construction businessman and ex-corporator Haresh Keni said, “Construction prices shot up by Rs 200 per square feet and this has to be paid by the flat buyers. Supply of building construction materials is stopped if higher price is not paid to the said company which holds monopoly for such items.”
Sources said real estate developer and MLA Parag Shah had raised this issue before deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis; but nothing happened thereafter. A meeting was held with Raigad district collector, but it did not yield anything.
The minor minerals category items are purchased by the builders from crusher units that extract these items by paying royalty to the revenue authorities. A company promoted by a few people with links to a Thane leader’s family, has a monopoly in this business, according to market watchers, who added that they promise “extra royalty” to the government in order to continue with this unethical trade practice.
After conducting a meeting, Raigad collector Yogesh Mhase, said he will look into the monopolisation issue.
The problem cropped up in May this year after a company ventured into this business arena through a backchannel mode. The existing crusher units across Panvel and Uran talukas have started facing the heat, as they have been told to only sell to this particular company.
The promise of “higher royalty offer” to the government changed the business operations of the existing crusher units and supplies made to Mumbai Metropolitan Region.
Sensing trouble, the steering committee of ‘Loknete DB Patil 27 project affected villages’ also complained to CM Eknath Shinde, deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis and other concerned officials on May 15 this year.
The PAPs body mentions that their units have to bear an additional burden of Rs 228 per metric tonne of grit and crushed sand, Rs 353 for washed sand used for construction and Rs 243 for washed sand used for plastering after monopolisation since May this year. Prior to this, the prices were cheaper. Uran resident and NCP general secretary Prashant Patil alleged, “Money, muscle and authoritative power was misused from the back channel to help the said company at any cost. Agreements are done from the back channel to exploit minor minerals.”
Raigad collector, Yogesh Mhase said, “I will look into the alleged business monopoly related royalty issues and its impact on real estate sector and flat buyers once again.”