BENGALURU: People planning to build their dream home but deterred by skyrocketing sand prices could soon get some respite from Malaysia, Kenya, Bangladesh or Cambodia.
With artificial M-sand not finding favour with the common man and sand prices continuing to soar, the state government is preparing to import sand to meet the demand. The happy news is that the imported sand will come at a much lower price.
The government has decided to import sand from different countries through Mysore Sales International Limited (MSIL), which was formed to meet the marketing needs of Karnataka.
The MSIL will launch a global tender next week. The sand will be sold under the ‘MSIL Brand’.
According to the mines and geology department, Karnataka’s annual sand requirement is 5 crore tonnes. The department gives permit to mine 50 lakh tonnes a year.
The state is therefore facing shortage of 4-4.5 crore tonnes every year.
“The imported sand will play a vital role in maintaining water percolation. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s intention to maintain ecological balance is the reason behind the step. It will help in conservation by preventing extraction of sand from natural water bodies. Simultaneously, MSIL also took the initiative to help people,” said Dr G C Prakash, managing director, MSIL.
Currently, sand is brought in illegally from Tamil Nadu and people pay Rs 1 lakh-1.25 lakh per truck. An official said filter sand is usually mixed to make money in the open market.
“While sand costs Rs 250 for a 50 kg bag in the open market, the imported sand is likely to be cheaper at Rs 160 - 175 per bag. It may slightly differ after tenders are finalised. We have estimated that we need to import 3 lakh tonnes sand a month initially,” sources in Mysore Sales International Ltd said. The quantity may be increased as per demand, they added.
“The pure sand will be shipped to Mangaluru or Chennai ports from where it will be transported to required places. Currently, Maharashtra’s sand import is in initial stages. If Karnataka starts, other states will follow suit,” he said.
Current price of sand in open market is Rs 250 for 50 kg bag
Likely price of imported sand will be Rs 160-175 per bag
Sand will be sold under the MSIL brand
3 lakh tonnes will be imported initially
Global tender to be floated next week