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Inadequate number of quarries will hike sand cost: lorry operators

Sand lorry operators in the city have threatened to halt supply to the state capital and its neighbourhood if the government fails to reopen quarries in Tiruvallur and Kancheepuram.

Inadequate number of quarries will hike sand cost: lorry operators
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Claiming that the number of quarries in the state had reduced from 38 to 10 during the last two years, Tamil Nadu Lorry Owner’s Association said the price of a load (four units) could double to Rs 60,000 in April if the government does not reopen the quarries in Tiruvallur and Kancheepuram. 

Noting that construction works in Chennai, Tiruvallur and Kancheepuram require 10,000 loads per day, association president R Munirathinam said the chairman of the state environment impact assessment authority (SEIAA), which sanctions the opening of new quarries in the state, remains vacant for long and further delay in reopening closed quarries and opening new quarries would not only jack up price but halt construction activities in Chennai and affect the livelihood of thousands of families. 

BAI wants quarrying nationalised 

Meanwhile, Builders Association of India (BAI) on Wednesday said the State was losing nearly Rs 12,000 crore per year from sand quarrying allegedly indulged in by private contractors and hence the government should involve itself directly in sand quarrying in the State. 

Talking to reporters here, chairman of Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Andaman and Nicobar Islands unit of BAI, M Thirusangu and president R Radhakrishnan jointly alleged that private contracting agencies were making an annual profit of Rs 12,000 crore in sand quarrying. “If the government takes over the sand quarrying all by itself, instead of leaving it to private contractors, then the entire profit will come to the state exchequer,” Radhakrishnan said. 

Accusing private agencies of illegally transporting sand to Kerala and Karnataka, he said that about 30 to 40 per cent of construction projects had already been affected by the scarcity of sand here. 

Claiming that most states were following e-Tendering, unlike Tamil Nadu, which still follows the old system, he urged the government to introduce e-Tenders and ensure transparency in sand quarrying. Advising the state PWD to accept online payment or demand draft, the BAI president asked the government to open sand godowns in all districts and distribute it through PWD to contractors. He also urged the government to implement usage of M-sand for government project works as an alternate for river sand, for which a notification was issued by late Chief Minister Jayalalithaa.

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