Lorry owners begin indefinite strike from Monday

The controversy surrounding sand supply refuses to die down in Mysore.

Construction industry in the city is hit again by the short supply of sand, compounded by the indefinite strike by lorry owners from Monday midnight.

More than 1,700 lorries have gone off roads for the second consecutive day on Wednesday, claims B. Revanna, president of the Mysore City Local Lorry Owners Association. Lorry owners in T. Narsipur taluk and Mysore Rural district too supported the strike, Mr. Revanna told The Hindu on Wednesday.

“Lorry owners were given only about three permits in a month for the last four months to transport sand from the yard at Vodeyandahalli in T. Narsipur taluk,” he said. Lorries were yet to get permits for August, Mr. Revanna said.

The association blames the sand monitoring committee set up by the district administration under the Mines and Geology Department for not renewing the tender.

No fresh tenders have been issued to extract sand and deposit it in more yards. Vodeyandahalli is the only yard where sand is available now, Mr. Revanna said.

Lorry owners should be given at least one permit a day lest their lives and those depending on them such as drivers, cleaners would be in jeopardy, he said.

Without regular income, owners were not in a position to pay taxes, and vehicle insurance amounts, he said.

The PWD is disbursing sand stock to transporters and individuals, who paid money through DDs seeking stock directly, were yet to get the supply in the last one-and-a-half-months, Mr. Revanna said. More than 3,200 individuals had deposited over Rs. 12 crore in the form of DDs seeking direct supply of sand with the PWD, he said.

“This is not the right time to create an artificial sand scarcity,” said Y.B. Anand, senior geologist, Department of Mines and Geology. He said sand deposit would take place in rivers during monsoon.

Sand extraction could not be allowed when the rivers are in spate.

He admitted that sand could not be extracted on a regular basis for the last three or four months owing to the heavy inflow into rivers. In the absence of sand, most of the more than a dozen sand yards identified in the district were not operational, Mr. Anand, who is also the secretary of the sand monitoring committee, said.

Some of the sand lorry owners sold loads for high prices, he said.

A lorry load of sand was to have been sold for Rs. 7,500 but some had even sold them for over Rs. 20,000.

A good rainfall would ensure good sand deposition in the riverbed. It would take some time before the situation would ease, he added.

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