Special Correspondent

Says the move will cause a loss to State exchequer

It will also result in spiralling of sand prices, says AIADMK leader

“Leasing out quarries will lead to DMK partymen controlling them”

CHENNAI: AIADMK general secretary Jayalalithaa on Wednesday warned that the State government’s decision to lease out sand quarries would not only cause a loss to the exchequer but would also result in spiralling of sand price.

In a statement here, she said her government issued an order on October 1, 2003, for handing over quarrying operations to the Public Works Department to prevent unscientific quarrying and reduce the cost of construction materials through adequate sand supply to the people.

She said quarrying was done in 239 locations and one lorry load (two units) was sold at Rs. 1,000. Subsequently, the price was reduced to Rs. 600. The arrangement kept the prices of construction materials under control and gave a fillip to the construction industry, besides bringing in huge revenue to the State exchequer, she said.

“Revenue up”

“The revenue generated through sand quarrying between 1996 and 2001 when the DMK was in power was only Rs. 64.08 crore. But it went up to Rs. 385.06 crore in the AIADMK regime in 2001-06,” Ms. Jayalalithaa said

Alleging that the government decision would benefit only the DMK partymen, she said presently a load was being sold for Rs. 5,000 and Rs. 5,500 though quarrying operations were still under the control of the PWD.

“Leasing out the quarries would lead to DMK partymen controlling the quarries. The Chief Minister has announced this decision as his birthday gift to the partymen,” she quipped.