BANGALORE: It's been a month since sand truckers went on an indefinite strike across the state, affecting construction activity in Bangalore. Metro contractors are also struggling to get sand.
The strike has affected big and small projects alike. While the bigger projects have a cushion of stock, the smaller ones have almost come to a standstill. Bangalore needs at least 30,000 truckloads of sand every day. "We're facing a lot of difficulties. Our contractors are unable to procure sand, which is leading to work being suspended," said PS Kharola, managing director, Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited.
A dipstick survey points to a supply-side problem swelling across the city, with some firms saying they've completely stopped construction activity. Sources in the Confederation of Real Estate Developers' Association of India (Credai), while claiming they have some stock of sand, admitted the construction industry will incur huge losses if the strike prolongs.
Real estate developers say the strike has brought most activity to a standstill. "At present, it's estimated that per day losses for the real estate industry is approximately Rs 500 crore," SV Naresh Kumar, chairman and managing director (CMD), Fortuna Projects, said. Fortuna has 13 ongoing projects which have been completely stopped due to unavailability of sand, while Chartered Housing is contemplating action based on the prices.
"The strike has had a severe impact on the realty sector. Developers will either have to slow down construction or stop work till the crisis stabilizes," Balakrishna Hegde, CMD, Chartered Housing, said.
He, however, said there's definitely a need for a 'sound' sand policy, which is geologically and ecologically beneficial and also meets the requirements of the industry.
If the strike doesn't end, sand could well become the most expensive raw material for the industry. A truckload of sand cost Rs 25,000 about two weeks ago. But now developers are paying between Rs 30,000 and Rs 40,000 per load.
Balakrishna Hegde | cmd, chartered housing
Whatever was stored up is depleting and there will be a problem. But this is something the government should consider.?