Chennai: With water in the Cauvery river flowing heavily, the availability of river sand has declined across the state, raising its cost. Builders point out that they had already suffered sand scarcity and government had failed to open quarries in rivers. This has forced builders to use M-sand in large quantities for construction.
Sources at PWD (sand mining wing) said that the government operated a couple of sand depots in the delta belt and the heavy inflow of water has flattened the river bed. This has caused severe inconvenience to the construction industry. The price of river sand, which was earlier Rs 12,000 to Rs 13,000, has increased to Rs 15,000 per unit. While some builders fear the skyrocketing price in the coming days, some others seem happy with the heavy inflow as it will be a main factor for deposition of sand in huge quantities in the Cauvery river.
S Ramaprabhu, vice-chairman of the Southern Builders Association of India, expressed concern over the current situation. “The government, which decided to import river sand from abroad, has failed to take any step forward. At a time when the construction industry is gradually improving, sand scarcity is a stumbling block,” he said. However, he noted that more builders and even individuals have started switching over to M-sand, as it was fit for construction.
S Yuvaraj, president of the Tamil Nadu Lorry Owners Federation, said, "Despite shortage of sand, illegal sand mining has become rampant and government should take steps to contain this. Illegal sand mining increases the cost of sand."
When contacted by DC, a specially appointed officer (sand mining wing), PWD, said that they have identified some more spots in Palar, Tiruvallur and Cuddalore to open sand depots.
“After water recedes in the Cauvery river, we will explore possibilities to open a sizable number of sand quarries,” he hinted....