VISAKHAPATNAM: At a time when the demand for realty is growing in the city, builders are faced with a huge shortage of sand, thanks to changes in policies mooted by the government, said Visakha Apartment Builders' Association (VABA) president P Bhogeswara Rao.
Speaking to mediapersons on the first anniversary of VABA formation, Rao said the government is now introducing a new system in which DWCRA groups will be allowed to manage distribution of sand. However, the delay in implementation of policy has led to non-availability of sand for builders in the city.
Pointing out that construction of nearly 1,500 apartments is underway in various parts of the city, he said sand prices have gone up in the last few weeks. A truck-load of sand used to cost around Rs 16,000. But now it is sold for Rs 60,000. He said the association has submitted a representation to VABA about the issue and hopefully the problem would be sorted out soon.
VABA honorary secretary PVL Narasimha Raju said construction activity has come to a standstill due to increase in sand prices. He said the association was successful in resolving issues such as vacant land tax, which was reduced to one year from three years. "We also convinced authorities to collect bulk water charges based on the size of the connection rather than on the basis of the number of housing units. Issues like transfer of development rights and coastal regulation zone are under active consideration of the authorities," Raju added.
VABA earlier organised a one-day training programme on structural reinforcement detailing and construction materials by experts from Andhra University civil engineering department for supervisors, masons and rod benders. The main aim of the programme is to upgrade knowledge on construction among members of the industry, Raju added.