Construction takes a hit as sand prices soar

Increases by nearly 50 per cent within 30 days; dream homes may have to wait

A dh file photo of sand laden lorries seized during a raid by the district administration, in Mysore recently.

With the new sand policy yet to come into force and the district administration cracking down on illegal sand mining at the beginning of the month, the availability of sand has dropped considerably.

At a time when many are feeling the heat of increasing costs incurred while constructing a house, the rise in sand price has just added to the misery of prospective home owners.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Rahul H D, who is constructing a house in Srirampura, said that according to their initial estimation, they had earmarked 10 per cent of the total cost - approximately amounting to             ` two lakh - for purchasing sand.

However, with prices shooting up by more than 35 per cent, he expects the cost of construction to go up by another lakh.

While purchasing sand is a costly issue, Rahul explains that it also means overshooting their budget approximations.

“We had taken a loan from a bank keeping in mind the cost of construction including materials and labour. But, the sudden increase has caught us unawares. If the prices don’t reduce soon,  we will have to approach private money lenders, as the banks won’t give additional loan,” mentioned a worried Rahul.

The problem is that they have to churn out a higher rate of interest for the loans taken from money lenders.  People whose home constructions are underway, also fear that the price of sand may never come down to its original rate.

Also until the new sand mining policy is implemented, they feel that substandard quality would be supplied to them. Former CREDAI President and Builders’ Association of India Chairman Sriram said that the lack of sand was causing problems complications on two fronts - availability and affordability.

Every time a strike takes place, he said that sand remains unavailable for nearly 15 days, causing major havoc among the construction industry.

Citing the example of neighbouring state Kerala, Sriram said that sand mining is totally banned in that State.  However, at the same time the government has set up nearly 180 sand manufacturing units that cater to the needs of the construction industry.

He said that ‘N-sand’, also known as manufactured sand or ‘Robo sand’, is the alternative that has to be looked at while figuring out a long-term sand policy.  He bemoaned that there are no ‘N-sand’ manufacturing units in Mysore District.

Until the district administration wakes up to the troubles faced by the common man, people will have to shell out more money or get stuck at the hands of private money lenders, so long as they nurse the dream of building their own house.

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