Builders finally have a reason to heave a sigh of relief. After running from pillar to post to make their sand-related grievances heard, the Government seems to have taken note of their miseries.
News that the Government plans to allot 40-odd sand reaches to the Mines Department for supply of sand at Rs. 325 per cubic metre has given the fraternity a ray of hope.
Reports indicate that the Krishna district initially may be allotted one reach against 12 to its neighbouring Guntur district. More reaches would be allotted to Krishna after securing environment clearance, it is said.
“This is indeed a positive step. Due to severe shortage of sand, we are forced to shell out between Rs. 1200 and Rs. 1500 to buy a tonne of sand while the Government rate will cost us Rs. 200 per tonne or not more than Rs. 400 per tonne with transport facility,” says Gadde Rajaling, president of Greater Vijayawada Builders Association.
The Krishna river bed alone has 72 sand reaches. Hit by an unprecedented scarcity of sand, builders have been incurring huge financial losses. “We are under tremendous pressure. Works at the projects have come to a standstill for want of sand and resultantly, many clients have asked for cancellation of deals while financiers are exerting pressure for recovery of their money,” Mr. Rajaling rues. The sand crisis has had a cascading impact. A major chunk of the migrant labour from the states of Bihar, Jharkhand and Orissa has returned home in the absence of work causing severe shortage of skilled workers and escalation of the labour cost by 30 per cent.