Rates down by Rs. 10/cubic feet; lorry owners, however, fear it will increase

The price of river sand, which had shot to an all-time high over a month ago, has come down marginally.

Officials are confident of the prices stabilising before dipping further in the weeks to come.

An official of the Public Works Department told The Hindu on Tuesday the price of sand had come down from the earlier Rs. 60 per cubic feet to Rs. 50.

In November, following a court order, a blanket ban was imposed on sand quarrying activity in Kancheepuram for one year.

River sand seized from yards that had stocked up illegally, in and around Madurantakam and the rest of Kancheepuram district, is now being supplied every day. Over 1,500 lorry loads of sand are being supplied and at this rate, the stocks will last only till the first week of February.

The commissioning of two quarries in Vellore district recently will further meet the demand when the sand from Madurantakam runs out. Three more quarries in Villupuram and Tiruvallur are waiting for approval. Once they are opened, there will be further relief to the industry, an official said.

An office-bearer of Builders’ Association of India, Chennai, said they are aware of the price coming down, but it will take a couple of days for the end users to feel the relief.

Lorry owners, however, insist they find no difference and fear the price will only escalate further unless new sites are identified along Palar, downstream of Pazhayaseevaram.

“Against the government price of Rs. 625 for two units of sand, we pay Rs. 2,000 to the contractor engaged by the government for loading sand in our lorries. It takes nearly 3 days for one lorry to bring two units of sand from Arcot and Villupuram,” said R. Anandan of OMR Lorry Owners Association.

If new quarries are identified in Palar within Kancheepuram district, sand can be sold at just Rs. 25 per cubic feet, like a few months ago. If it is not done, the price will jump to Rs. 75 per cubic feet, said Mr. Anandan.

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