CHENNAI: In a major relief to the realty sector hit by Covid slowdown and spiraling cost of raw materials, the State government on Saturday issued a GO fixing the cost of river sand to be sold at sand quarries at Rs 1,000 per unit. One unit is equal to 100 cubic feet of sand.
Considering the current market price, which is between Rs 8,000 and Rs 8,500 per unit, the new order makes sand available at almost 1/8th of the price. The decision comes after a recent announcement by Water Resources Minister Duraimurugan about plans to make sand available at a reasonable cost through online booking on www.tnsand.in.
Sand is an important construction material. Not all types of sands can be used for construction and river sand is the most suitable. To meet the growing demand, government has been importing sand from Malaysia. According to a builder, imported sand costs Rs 10,000-14,000 per unit.
According to the GO, 16 lorry quarries and 21 bullock cart quarries for which environmental clearance has already been given will be allowed to operate in the first phase. In the second phase, 63 lorry quarries and eight bullock cart quarries will be permitted to operate after green nod.
Online application made by individuals from 8 am to 2 pm should be served first before lorry owners will be allowed to book from 2 pm to 5 pm depending on the availability of sand.Buyers must register the details of vehicles they wish to use for carrying sand at the time of booking. Customers may be allowed to change the vehicle at the time of taking delivery after verification of vehicle records. Wherever necessary, approved building plan should be verified.
Sand booking can also be done through Tamil Nadu e-governance/e-services such Arasu Cable TV, e-Kiosk, e-Seva Centres and sand depot counters.S Sridharan, chairman, Urban Development/Affordable Housing Committee, Credai, and S Rama Prabhu, National and Builders Association of India State Secretary, welcomed the move. “We hope that the demand can be met by opening more quarries. M-sand which was selling at Rs 45 per CFT is now selling at Rs 72. If prices come down, it would be easy for us to complete projects,” Sridharan said.
Special bank extension counters should be established at sand depots to help customers remit money in cash in addition to online payment facilities, said the GO issued by the Water Resources Department.
“Facilities such as IP/CCTV cameras with 24x7 live streaming and real-time monitoring of vehicles with GPS and geofence will be strengthened at the control room in Chennai to prevent pilferage and monitor quarrying operations throughout the State,” the order said.
Advance booking and facility to deliver sand at the doorsteps of consumers would be taken up in Phase-II of the plan. Collectors have been asked to coordinate with various departments for effective implementation of the scheme.