The prices of mild steel (MS) rods, a key construction material, have increased significantly over a period of last three month, hitting hard the construction sector, insiders said on Sunday.MS rod prices rose by 25 per cent or Tk 10,000 and 12,000 per tonne during the last three months. Millers, however, attributed the hike for rising import costs of raw materials, scrap iron in the international market and political turmoil in home.”The fresh price hike has created turmoil within the construction sector forcing the realtors and contractors to spend additional money in their ongoing construction projects,” former Real Estate and Housing Association of Bangladesh (REHAB) (Rehab) president Engr Tanveerul Haque Probal, told The New Nation yesterday.He added: The sudden price hike of MS rod hits the real estate sector hard as almost 30 per cent cost of construction of a building actually goes behind the cost of the key construction material.Real estate companies especially those with a low capital base, now consider slowing down their construction works and some of them plan to hike the prices of unsold apartments to cope with the increased costs for rods.The former Rehab leader also said that this latest price chaos has left many real estate and construction companies bewilder. REHAB sources said that the prices of 40-grade rod was selling at Tk 48,000 to Tk 48,500 per tonne in the market yesterday while it was sold at Tk 40,000 three moths ago. The 60-grade MS rod per tonne was previously sold at Tk 50,000 and the same grade rod now is selling at Tk 60,000 to Tk 62,000.Meanwhile, the millers and retailers held a ‘syndicate’ responsible for the sudden rise in MS rod prices.They alleged that import of ships and scrap business is confined within six families with 22 business houses in the country and they are running this syndicated business.”This syndicate is hiking the scrap iron prices ‘whimsically’ excusing price hike of it in the international market to make brisk profit, ultimately pushing up prices of MS rod in the local market,” said a miller on condition of anonymity. He also said that the Group has made Bangladesh Ship Breakers Association (BSBA) and they do not even let any new companies to become member of the association. “Only the association members are allowed to import the raw materials of MS rod in a bid to control the business,” he added.”We want immediate abolition of the BSBA as the sector now become hostage by the Association,” he said.The miller also urged the government for launching an immediate market monitoring to bring the market prices of MS rod stable.