Sand strike hits construction industry in Bangalore

Public and private projects affected alike by stir

The indefinite strike by sand transporters has hit the construction industry hard in Bangalore.

 Major builders in the City are complaining that the stalemate between the State government and truckers has put them in an embarrassing situation with their customers. In addition to this, the strike has also affected various public works by civic agencies.

River sand, which was sold at Rs 65 to Rs 70 per cubic feet (cft) is now sold at Rs 80 to Rs 85 per cft. Inferior quality filter sand, which was available at Rs 35 a cft is now sold at Rs 45 a cft. Manufactured sand dealers are also making a killing by selling a cft at Rs 40 to Rs 42 as opposed to the original Rs 35 a cft.

Govt blamed

Meanwhile, the Federation of Lorry Owners’ Association is blaming the State government for the logjam.

President of the Association Channa Reddy said: “According to a rule enforced in 2011, the government alone can mine sand. But presently, 90 per cent of the sand is being mined and transported by private persons.” He alleged that the government is doing nothing to contain the sand mafia because of their political clout.

Kiran Kumar, vice-president of Mantri Developers, conceded that the sand transporters’ strike has put the construction industry in an tight situation.

“We are definitely affected by the strike. We are unable to get a key component for construction because of which we are unable to meet deadlines,” said Kumar.

Stoppage of work

The strike has badly hampered public works too. Many contractors working for the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) have reportedly stopped their work. B T Hanumantha Raju, an office-bearer of BBMP Contractors’ Association said, “We have a sand stock for three to four days. Once the stock is over, we too will have to halt our work.” He accused both the State government and the sand transporters of causing the impasse.

Need for policy

The Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FKCCI) highlighted the need for a strong policy to check illegal mining, which according to them, has repercussions on the construction and transport industries. FKCCI president Shivakumar said, “The current sand mining policy lacks clear directions. The mining of sand should be done in a scientific and legal manner.”

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