Vizag construction sector hamstrung by sand scarcity
Construction activity in Visakhapatnam – already hit by demonetisation and GST imposition as elsewhere – is further ham-strung by sand scarcity and high prices, according to members of the Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Associations of India (CREDAI).
At a media conference here on Friday, after the managing committee meeting of the CREDAI (AP), K. Subba Raju, chairman, said that for the past three years the problem had been persisting in Visakhapatnma city, and repeated appeals to the State Government to address it had gone in vain.
He said there were no sand reaches (or ramps) in Visakhaptnam district and the sand was being brought here from the neighbouring Srikakulam and Vizianagaram districts. “There are eight sand reaches in Srikakulam and only one is operational now. Artificial scarcity is being created and the price of sand is now Rs. 25,000 per six units/18 cubic mts. The problem is further compounded by vigilance raids. Sand mafia is ruling the roost. It is an open secret,” he lamented.
He said the problem was more severe in Visakhapatnam city and district than in other parts of the State and the State Government should at least take note of it and make sand available freely at a reasonable rate.
A. Siva Reddy, president of CREDAI (AP), said that apart from the sand issue a lot of confusion was prevailing over the imposition of GST and on the issue of input tax credit. The vacant land tax, being imposed by the State Government even during the construction period, was another major problem, he said and appealed to the State Government to scrap VLT.
Ch. Sudhakar, the general secretary, said approval of building plans online would promote ease of doing business, but vested interests were scuttling the demand. Lauding the PM Awaas Yojana, with the objective of providing houses for all by 2022, he said the State Government should formulate and implement a policy with regard to exemption of certain taxes to both buyers and builders under the scheme. Then only the fruits of the affordable housing scheme would reach the common man.