Owners of lorries have been on strike since Friday midnight

Construction activity in Bangalore has almost come to a standstill with sand stock drying up as the sand lorry owners’ strike entered the fifth day on Wednesday.

With negligible quantity of sand trickling into the city, mostly brought in the night, the cost has tripled, according to a Builders’ Association of India (BAI) source.

Sand transporters have struck work since Friday midnight in protest against the new sand extraction policy. They say the policy favours extraction and not transportation.

They are also protesting against the 12-hour window between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. when sand transportation is allowed.

Across the State, about 15,000 transporters representing two factions — Federation of Karnataka State Lorry Owners’ Associations and Karnataka State Lorry Owners’ and Agents’ Association — are participating in the strike.

The strike has particularly affected those building individual homes, as not much is stocked at the construction site in the absence of good storage space. “Big developers, who normally stock sand, have also started feeling the heat due to depleting stock,” BAI’s national managing committee member M. Ramesh, said.

According to him the cost of good quality river sand has gone from about Rs. 28 to Rs. 30 per cubic foot (cft) to about Rs. 100 per cubic foot. Even at this price, sand is not available.

An alternative?

“Filter sand, which is of inferior quality, is available but not many good developers use it. In light of this, the government should encourage manufactured sand that is currently manufactured by a few, who cannot meet the needs of construction in Bangalore,” he added.

Manufactured sand, he said, can be used in all construction industry except for plastering purposes. “Currently there is a huge gap between demand and supply,” he added.

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