Construction work in Chennai hit
Sand prices have doubled in a month, giving nightmares to the realty sector. A cubic foot of river sand now costs between Rs70 and Rs80 against the Rs35 -Rs40 a few weeks ago. Manufactured sand (M Sand), an alternative to river sand, is sold at Rs60 per cubic foot.
While closure of quarries and increased smuggling of sand to neighbouring states are cited as reasons for the escalation, industry sources stressed the need for importing sand to control rates.
“It would result in timelines going for a spin,“ said N Nandakumar, former president of Ta mil Nadu chapter of Confederation of Real Estate Developers Associations of India (Credai). Noting that a delay in completing projects would increase the burden for home-buyers, he said small developers would be the worst hit. “With sand not available in neighbouring districts, it has to be transported from far-off places pushing the rates up,“ he said.
A leading developer, Chitty Babu, said many key in frastructure projects would take a beating. “On the one hand, the contractor cannot afford to comprise the quality, and, on the other, he may not be able to invest more than what he had quoted. Under such circumstances, major infrastructure projects like metro rail and roads could be delayed,“ he said.
Compounding the situation is the prevailing sand shortage. Industry sources say the city and its suburbs have been receiving around 2,500 truckloads of sand, each comprising a minimum of 300 cubic feet, everyday, against the demand for more than 6,000 loads. Tamil Nadu State Sand Lorry Owners Federa tion president S Yuva raj said many quarries in Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur and Vellore districts had been shut due to reasons like bans, protests over rampant illegal mining and court directives, leading to getting sand from Cuddalore and Villupuram districts, besides Trichy.