Faridkot, March 25
With record hike in sand prices, being sold at Rs 90 to Rs 100 per quintal for the last one week, most of the building construction activities have come to a halt in the area.
Against the state government’s fixed price of Rs 5.5 per cubic feet at sand pits, sand is being sold at Rs 36 to Rs 40 per cubic feet in the retail market here. One cubic feet sand weighs around 40 kg due to moisture content.
Contractor stopped from mining in malwa region
- A contractor, who was allotted clusters in Ferozepur and Moga was stopped from mining for non-payment of royalty
- These districts are two main sources of river bed and floodplain mining
- The contractor had not paid royalty since October 2021 and his contract ends on March 31, 2023
- Vijay Kumar Garg of the Water Resources Department, said we have already started the process to annul his contract
- It will be allotted to a new contractor as per the state government policy, said Garg.
- Due to this, Ferozepur, Faridkot, Fazilka, Moga and Muktsar are facing a shortage of sand, he said and thus prices have increased
All time high rate of sand is attributed to its almost non-availability in the retail market. After the AAP government assumed charge in the state, illegal sand mining is negligent due to tightened noose around miners in the area.
Vijay Kumar Garg, superintending engineer in the Water Resources Department, said a contractor, who was allotted the clusters in Ferozepur and Moga, two main sources of river bed and floodplain mining, was stopped from mining for non-payment of royalty since October 2021. His contract ends on March 31, 2023.
Though we stopped mining by him, we have already started the process to annul his contract and it will be allotted to a new contractor as per the state government policy, said Garg. Due to this, Ferozepur, Faridkot, Fazilka, Moga and Muktsar districts are facing a shortage of sand, he said.
The Mines and Geology Department was merged with the Water Resources Department some time back.
However, insiders in the sand business said while the contractor was stopped from mining sand and gravel in the last week of December 2021, the primary raw material for all kind of concrete construction was freely available in the local markets at Rs 65 to Rs 70 per quintal till the second week of March. As there were no visible check on illegal sand mining in the area, so it was readily available but at high prices. But after the AAP government assumed charge, illegal mining on the river banks and floodplains has halted. Now, sand is being mined at some farm clusters in rural areas, where the quality is poor.
For this reason, buyers are forced to pay hiked price of Rs 90 to Rs 100 per quintal, which is only available here, said a dealer in construction material in Faridkot. As the construction work has come to halt in the absence of sand, there is considerable fall in the sale of cement, iron and other building materials also in the region, he said.