This is a maiden effort by the PWD in its attempt to curb illegal sand mining, to protect riverbeds, dams, bridges and to ensure clean drinking water. The official website said the orders will be delivered to the public within three days of booking. A unit of sand is priced at Rs 9,990, excluding transportation charges.
On this, an official attached to the Mines department, said, “The price was fixed with an aim to serve the public. We have no motive to earn profits out of this project. We are expecting to making a good sale this time.” Project Director A Arun Thamburaj said the PWD will import river sand and deliver to the public at their doorsteps.
The government has apparently fixed a tariff where one unit load of sand will be transported within 25 km for Rs 2,500.
Until Friday evening, the government was yet to finalise the tariff for loads beyond 25 km.
Members of the lorry owners associations had already booked consignments about three months ago.
Working president of Tamil Nadu State Sand Lorry Owners’ Federation, S Yuvaraj, said, “We were eagerly awaiting the online auction of imported river sand. I have booked orders worth several crores of rupees. We wanted to commence pending projects.”
The State is facing a severe shortage of river sand after 27 quarries were reportedly shut down, leaving only one operational to meet demands.
Yuvaraj, however, said the price per unit is exorbitant. The association is planning to help the public with transportation after the government backed out on its announcement.
“The consignment will be delivered to the public on the same day. The government announced tariff will be applicable as the transportation cost. We are ready to help contractors, promoters, and engineers with regard with transportation,” he added.
As much as 56,000 tonnes of river sand from Malaysia reached Chennai on the vessel Aurelia in September. The consignment underwent a series of tests to ensure that the quality is in par with ISI standards. An official said, “Every load will be delivered to the public only after conducting tests.”