KERALA

Sand price goes up in Palakkad

Staff Reporter

PALAKKAD: The price of sand in the local market has gone up following the government auction of the sand removed from the Malampuzha dam at almost double the prevailing market rate.

The sand removed from the Bharathapuzha and other rivers of the district is now sold at Rs.1,200 per cubic metre. The sand removed from the dam was auctioned at Rs.2,300 per cubic metre on Friday. Three lakh cubic metres of sand removed from the dam was auctioned off for Rs.69 crore. The bid was taken by one Mr. Parameswaran from Thrissur.

According to environmentalists here, the bid for double the local market price for the Malampuzha sand has resulted in the M-sand manufacturers hiking the price by Rs.250 per cubic metre overnight. Thus, the very purpose of removing sand from the reservoirs to bring down the prices of river sand and to save the rivers from destructive sand mining were defeated with the auctioning of the sand removed from the Malampuzha dam at double the existing market price.

When this programme of removing sand from the Malampuzha dam was launched, the government had stated that it would solve the problem of scarcity and high price for river sand. The measure was also expected to reduce mining from the Bharathapuzha.

Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac had stated here recently that a portion of the sand from the Malampuzha dam would be sold through ‘Kalavara' under the Nirmithi Kendra at fair prices.

But the Minister, who announced at a press conference here on Sunday that Rs.300 crore to Rs.400 crore worth sand from Malampuzha would be sold by June, said the sand would be sold at the best price leaving it to the market forces. This dashed the hope of the people to get sand at reasonable price in the market for their construction needs. He said the sand from the Malampuzha dam fetched Rs.2,300 per cubic metre in the auction. Thus, the public could not be given sand at lower prices now because the person who bid the sand could question it in the court.