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Sand shortage stalls building projects in Chennai
Sand shortage stalls building projects in Chennai

Inadequate supply of river sand has hit construction activity in the city over the past two months.

The domino effect of increased demand and subsequent price hike, along with dwindling supply, has stalled several residential projects, put builders and buyers in a fix over deadlines and is even threatening to impact government projects. There seems to be no immediate alternative in sight, though M-sand (manufactured sand) is being used by a few customers.

Everyone is looking to the government to take measures such as regulate sand prices and open up quarries.

The government had recently banned sand mining in Kancheepuram district following a rampant illegal mining in the Palar basin.

On Thursday, members of the Builders Association of India appealed to the Public Works Department to look into the issue.

People who are constructing houses have been left high and dry.

“My house was scheduled to be completed two months ago. I doubt the work will be completed even by February because of sand shortage,” said Ghulam Mohammed of Kasturbai Nagar, Tambaram.

The scarcity of river sand has hurt many like him, as they have emptied their savings and borrowed extensively. Consumers pay anywhere between Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 24,000 per load, including fuel and labour costs.

Several large residential projects have also been hit. R. Kumar, managing director of Navin Housing and Properties, said, “I have not been able to start a few projects. This has also pushed the deadline of some projects by two months. I am able to employ only 20-30 per cent of my workers,” he said.

L.Murthy, All India Managing Committee Member, Builders Association of India (BAI), said only 60 per cent of the sand required was available now. Builders’ expenditure went up by at least 10 per cent. Also, it took two days for sand load to be supplied.