Flooded Cauvery hits sand mining

August 08, 2013 12:00 am | Updated 05:47 am IST - NAMAKKAL:

“There is no sand mining in the 20 mining points along the stretch of River Cauvery since Sunday as the flood has made sand mining impossible. While truckers stopped mining on Sunday, we also received direction from the Public Works Department officials asking us to stop mining till we receive further orders from them,” State president of the Tamil Nadu Sand Lorry Owners Federation Sella. Rajamani said.

He told The Hindu here on Tuesday that this has resulted in shortage of sand for construction, leading to drastic escalation in the price. “The price of a load of sand (three units) that was Rs. 7,000 till Saturday has now increased to Rs. 10,000. The price hike will be more if it takes more time for the flow of water in the river to reduce,” he added.

“Of the four sand mining divisions in Tamil Nadu – Tiruchi, Chennai, Madurai and Pollachi, Tiruchi division that covers mining along the stretch of the Cauvery is the longest and most important sand mining range with as many as 20 mining points that have been approved by the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA),” Mr. Rajamani said.

As many as eight are in Tiruchi district, followed by five in Karur, three in Thanjavur and two each in Namakkal and Nagapattinam districts. Sand is supplied to Chennai division from Palar. There is no mining in Pollachi range, while it has been banned in River Thamirabarani in the south. According to builders and sand truckers, this makes the Cauvery-based Tiruchi division the leading sand supplier across central, western, northern and part of Southern Tamil Nadu.

Mr. Rajamani said that out of around 15,000 to 20,000 truck loads of sand mined from the Cauvery, close to 4,000 loads are supplied for various government projects and for the construction of commercial and residential buildings in the western region. “Many stock points went dry on Monday due to non-availability of sand. Some government contractors contacted us on Tuesday and were ready to give any amount for sand,,” he said.

In addition to the drivers and cleaners of sand mining trucks who were affected by the floods, thousands of masons and allied workers in the construction industry have also been affected by shortage of sand.

Industry sources said that it would take more than 10 days for flow of water to drop to mining level.

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