The local chapter of Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India (CREDAI) demanded that the state government put a check on the sand mafia which was diluting the free sand policy reports from Visakhapatnam
Addressing a press conference here on Thursday, chairman of CREDAI, GVVS Narayana, said that the well-intentioned free-sand policy of the government has turned into a handy tool for the sand mafia and the very purpose of the policy was getting defeated.
He said that unless the State government takes prompt action and curb the activities of sand mafia with an iron hand, it would hamper the construction activity in the State, thus, adversely affecting housing programmes taken up by the government, including the Prime Minister’s programme of ‘Houses to All’ by the year 2022.
Narayana said that after the announcement of policy of free sand supply, the cost of a truck load of sand, which was hovering around Rs 35,000 had come down to about Rs. 12,000 (loading, unloading and transport charges). But the sand mafia raised its ugly head again and cost had gone up to around Rs 25,000 a truck load.
“It has become very difficult for a person to transport sand from Srikakulam to Visakhapatnam, even though sand is free. It is as if the border between the two districts had become India–Pakistan. In the last few weeks, around 150 sand loaded trucks were seized by the Srikakulam police and huge penalties were collected,’’ Narayana said. There were no problems while transporting sand from Rajahmundry, he added.
Narayana said that the building activity has been going on in a big way in the city though the district has no river beds. It has to depend on Srikakulam or East Godavari sand reaches.
Builders are being involved in a big way in the execution of government housing schemes, and any escalation of cost of sand because of sand mafia, would greatly hamper building activity and ultimately adversely affect government housing programmes, office bearers of CREDAI P Koteswara Rao and KSRK. Raju said.
While it is difficult to get sand from the river beds of Srikakulam district, it is abundantly available in the mafia-controlled market, they said.On an average, builders in Visakhapatnam city require around 250 truckloads of sand everyday and they depend mostly on supplies from Srikakulam district.
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