The scarcity of sand that has hit the construction industry badly is likely to ease within a week. Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy during his brief stop at Gannavaram airport near here on Tuesday listened to the MLAs who told him that a blanket ban on sand quarrying had crippled the construction activity, including development works taken up by the government and civic bodies.

Responding to it, the Chief Minister said that the government had chalked out plans to ease the sand scarcity by asking the district Collectors to take steps to auction sand quarries. The final decision on auctions would be taken at the State capital.

The sand quarrying would be allowed only in permitted area and sand would be made available in the market within a week's time, he told the MLAs. Construction activity had almost come to a standstill across the State due to sand scarcity for the past few months.

In the wake of the High Court's order imposing a blanket ban on sand quarrying, it has become a scarce commodity. The court had directed the government to spell out its policy on sand quarrying.

The price of sand has skyrocketed, compelling the builders to slow down the activity. Sand, which used to cost Rs.2,900 per two units (8 to 9 tonnes), is not available for Rs.10,000.

According to a rough estimate by the CITU, about 50,000 labourers were dependent on construction industry in the city. The number would touch 30 lakh in entire State.

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