Andhra Pradesh: Construction activity has been suffering a setback in Ongole and other parts of Prakasam district owing to ‘hefty hike’ in the price of sand which is already short in supply.
With majority of sand reaches in the district yet to be operational, acute shortage of the key raw material have added to the woes of builders, at a time when the cost of other construction material including cement and steel is on the rise. Unable to meet their commitment to the purchasers of flats, builders in Ongole have decided to seek the government's intervention for reverting to the old system of sand supply on payment of mining fee.
“We can’t afford to buy sand at this high rate and continue in the business. We have suspended work as we are not in a position to break even,” said Confederation of Real Estate Developers' Associations of India (CREDAI) Ongole chapter vice-president G. Rajendran, urging Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu to review the sand policy. “The high sand price will certainly affect construction activity in the new State. We will chalk out an agitation programme shortly to press for our demand,” he added.
Pointing out that the cost of each flat has gone up by around Rs 500 per square feet in the wake of the new sand mining policy, he said that the builders now can neither bear the increase in the input cost nor pass it on to customers.
Earlier, builders used to get processed sand for various construction activity such as plastering, slab making, concrete works and etc. “Now, we have to clean and process the sand ourselves for which we are incurring additional expenses. Sand supplied by tractors is not a graded one,” explained its secretary M. Haripremnath.
Giving details about the repercussions of the hiked sand price, CREDAI, Ongole chapter president I. Veerababu said that builders, who used to spend Rs. 8 lakh for construction of a flat in the past, now had to shell out Rs. 25 lakh for the same.
“Only four of the nine reaches have become operational so far, leading to scarcity of sand,” lamented A. Venkateswara Rao of the Saikrishna Constructions. The government should shoulder the responsibility of sand supply through lorries instead of tractors. The sand reach near Maddipadu should be operationalised at the earliest for the builders in Ongole to save on the transportation cost, he suggested.