The public works department (PWD) is all set to realise more than Rs. 10 crore by selling around 40,000 loads of impounded sand from Sankarapuram second sales stock yard near Pazhayaseevaram.
The department, which had earlier decided to dispose of the impounded sand through auction, reportedly revised its stand on Tuesday night after realising that auctioning of sand would only result in steep escalation of prices in the open market.
In the first auction of impounded sand held on Tuesday, the bidders raised the cost per load (two units of sand) to more than 20 times the base price, ie. Rs. 600 per load, fixed by the officials for the auction.
Subsequently, after hectic discussions among top-level officials of the State government, it has been decided to sell the sand directly to the public at a price of Rs. 2,500 per load with a cap of 10 loads per person per day till the stocks last, official sources said.
This move has indirectly resulted in the government revising the cost per load of sand for the first time after it brought sand sales under its direct control a decade ago.
While launching the direct sales of sand through PWD in 2003, the government had fixed Rs. 626 as the cost per load of sand and it remained unchanged until a day ago.
Meanwhile, T.P. Ganesan, executive engineer, lower Palar basin, water resources department, PWD, said those who wish to purchase sand should remit Rs. 2,625 per load (Rs. 2,500 for two units of sand plus Rs. 125 towards VAT), up to a maximum of 10 loads per person, in the form of a demand draft at counters opened at the district collectorate campus in Kancheepuram. They should also remit a demand draft for Rs. 136 as loading charge per load.
To begin with, Mr. Ganesan said, it had been decided to issue tokens to those who registered for the suspended auction — 704 persons on Tuesday and 134 on Wednesday. The department expects to load a minimum of 700 lorries per day.
Meanwhile, hundreds of lorries lined up for about 2 to 3 km on both sides of Sankarapuram stock yard on Kancheepuram-Chengalpattu Road, from Wednesday morning, as the space inside the yard could hold less than 100 goods carriers.
Movement of regular traffic on the stretch was severely affected as sand lorries converged at Pazhayaseevaram, where sugarcane-laden goods carriers were already parked on the roadside, near a sugar mill.