By Laxman Kafle Kathmandu, Feb. 9: Prices of construction materials -- iron, sand and pebbles -- have come down of late. With the decline in the price of iron billets in the international market, iron has also become cheaper in Nepal, said the traders. Its price has decreased by Rs. 10-12 per kg in the local market since the end of 2020. The market price of a kilogram of iron bar has now fallen to Rs. 82 from Rs. 100 per kilogram about a month ago. Pradeep Kumar Shrestha, managing director of Panchakanya Group, said that the price of steel has also come down in Nepali market along with the fall in the price of raw materials required for iron production in the Indian market. He added that the price of iron reached above Rs. 96 per kilogram in the local market a few weeks ago due to skyrocketing price of the billets and that the demand for iron could not increase as expected as the construction work was not gathering steam. People, expecting a further decline in iron price, are in a ‘wait and watch’ position, so they are reluctant to start constructing houses, he said. Rabi Singh, president of the Federation of Construction Association of Nepal, said that contractors have breathed a sigh of relief following the reduction in price of construction materials. The price of sand and pebbles have also declined due to their unhindered supply as the government has eased their ban. The price of tipper-full sand, which used to be around Rs. 35,000 until recently, has now dropped to Rs. 26,000. He informed that the price of pebbles had also gone down to Rs. 22,000 from Rs. 28,000 and that the construction works had also gathered momentum. “The government extending the deadline of contract agreement for ongoing projects has come as a huge relief to the contractors. It deadline for construction works, including road blacktopping and construction of bridges, must be extended at the earliest,” he told The Rising Nepal. If the government delayed extending deadline for these projects, the construction of these projects would again be affected, he added. Traders have said that the price of cement, which had gone up by Rs. 20 per sack (50 kilogram) from December last year, has come down slightly. According to Dhruba Thapa, president of the Cement Manufactures’ Association, the demand for cement in the market had not increased as expected. He added that the market was getting better even though the coronavirus had affected the demand for cement and that cement’s price had almost remained constant over the last six months. The current average price of Portland Pozzolana Cement (PPC) is Rs. 600 per sack, while that of Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC) is Rs. 700.