Between Rs. 50 and Rs. 55 per cubic feet, compared to Rs. 70 at end of 2013

Opening of new sand quarries and a temporary lull in construction activity have brought down the price of river sand in Chennai.

The price, which fluctuated around Rs. 70 per cubic feet towards the end of 2013, is now averaging between Rs. 50 and Rs. 55 per cubic feet.

The price has come down primarily due to the opening of additional quarries in Tiruvallur and Villupuram districts.

S.S. Mani, a river sand agent said, “The outer price of river sand in certain places is Rs. 60 per cubic feet, and it is a relief, compared to last year. We are able to fetch a lorry-load of river sand in less than 24 hours. But, we still have to spend a lot on diesel.” They are able to deliver sand at Rs. 20,000 for four units (400 cubic feet), as against Rs. 30,000 earlier, he said.

It was in the middle of March the State government opened new quarries in the two districts to combat the spiralling prices of river sand.

Officials of the Public Works Department told The Hindu that river sand is being supplied from 10 of its quarries in Tiruvallur, Cuddalore, Villupuram and Vellore districts, at present, with around 150 lorry loads being taken out of each of the quarries every day.

Some engineers, however, have complaints about the quality of sand in certain places, that makes it unfit for plastering.

L.R. Kumar, a civil engineer, said the quality in some loads arriving from far-off quarries is indeed poor but not entirely unfit for construction.

The coarse sand can be used for brick work, but for plastering, fine and smooth river sand is required.

A representative of the Builders’ Association of India too said there are impurities in the river sand arriving from certain quarries, but it is not a serious problem.

He said an important reason for the falling price is the reduced demand for sand over the past month. A number of builders are hoping the price will come down further, he added.

(With inputs from K. Lakshmi)