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HindustanTimes Tue,23 Sep 2014

Sand mafia hikes sand rate in state, common man to bear the brunt

Jatinder Kohli, Hindustan Times  Jalandhar, September 09, 2013
First Published: 19:08 IST(9/9/2013) | Last Updated: 19:14 IST(9/9/2013)

Making a house was never easy for a common man and with each passing day, this dream of owning one's own house is becoming all the more difficult and out of reach.

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The construction cost has increased manifold due to unprecedented increase in the cost of sand and building material.

A trolley of sand, which otherwise used to cost between Rs. 2,600 and Rs. 2,800 per 100 cubic feet will now be available for Rs. 3,000 to Rs. 3,200 per 100 cubic feet. Thanks to the sand mafia operating in state, which has hiked the sand prices by Rs. 400 to Rs. 500 per 100 cubic feet.

Not only sand, gravel rates too have been hiked and now will cost Rs. 3,100 to 3,200 per 100 cubic feet as against Rs. 2,500 to 2,600 earlier.

Sources said that the ban imposed by the Himachal Pradesh government over transporting sand outside state recently was one of the factors behind the increase.

They further added that restrictions on limiting loading of sand and gravel from Pathankot district, was another reason why the sand mafia and building contractors have increased the rates.

They said that earlier, sand and gravel were being transported from bordering districts of Himachal Pradesh, including Una, Kangra, Bilaspur, Solan among others.

They said that initially, the ban has been imposed for three months, but it doesn't seem that the government in Himachal would lift it even after three months and hence there are less chances of witnessing a fall in prices in the coming days.

Sources further added that ever since the Himachal government imposed the ban, the sand mafia has started black marketing sand due to its huge demand.

Speaking to HT, a building material dealer said that most of sand quarries have already been closed in Punjab, which is why they used to get it from Himachal, but now, he said, they had no other choice, but to increase the rates, as others would also do the same.

Another dealer said that the condition of unloading in Pathankot is also the main reason behind price rise of sand and gravel.

On the other hand, the rise in construction material prices has shattered the dreams of the common man, who cannot even think of building a house.

Ravi Kumar, a resident of Manjeet Nagar, said that due to continuous increase in sand rates, it has become difficult to even arrange the budget for home repair.
Another resident Harish Kumar rued that the construction cost has increased to a level, which was beyond their reach.

When contacted, general manager (industries) Bhinder Singh said that it depends on the demand and supply of building material, which makes a change in prices.

On being asked whether the ban imposed by the Himachal Pradesh government was the main reason behind the hike, he refused to comment.


 

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