Acute sand shortage in Maharashtra affects construction activity

MCHI seeks government’s intervention
Prices shoots up to Rs. 12,000 per brass from Rs. 2,500

Mumbai, December 28, 2010: Concerned by the skyrocketing sand prices and its consequent serious implication on construction activity across the state, Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industry (MCHI), the apex body of real estate developers, has sought state government’s urgent intervention in the matter. The MCHI has also suggested alternative steps to restore the sand supply.

In a letter addressed to Maharashtra Revenue Minister Mr. Balasaheb Thorat, MCHI President Mr. Sunil Mantri said, “The construction sites at various places across Mumbai city have come to a halt on account of acute shortage in the supply of sand and exorbitant rates being charged by the sand suppliers”, while urging the minister to look into the matter and resolve the issue at an early date”.

“The sand prices which were hovering around Rs. 2,500 per brass till recently, have gone up to Rs. 12,000 per brass and this may result in a major setback for the entire industry”. Mr. Mantri said.

The MCHI President, who also met Maharashtra Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat recently on the sand issue, urged the government to implement Government Resolution (GR) that came into force on October 26, 2010.

The MCHI President has suggested four alternative steps to resolve the issue including allowing import of sand from the neighbouring states, removal of Excise Duty (ED) and other taxes on artificial manufacturing of sand, incentives to innovative technology development and taking steps to implement dredging as per the High Court order.

“The total sand consumption in Maharashtra is 65.55 million tonne, if construction work grinds to a halt the impact would be felt to country’s economy, since 90 lakh workers are employed on various constructed sites across state, out of 27 lakh alone in Mumbai would turn jobless. Secondly, even a slightest slowdown in construction industry will affect manufacturing industry such as cement, steel, sanitary ware, tiles and marbles”, Mr. Mantri noted.

The state government has formulated a policy in form of Government Resolution (GR) to resolve the sand crisis on October 26, 2010. However, the GR is not yet implemented by the government, resulting into an unauthorised dredging of sand with consequential financial losses to the state and consumers like members of the MCHI. Construction workers continue to suffer due to sand shortage delaying completion of vital projects such as Residential and Commercial complexes.

Recalling the MCHI’s joint initiative with the state government announced early this year for providing five lakh homes in the coming five years, the MCHI president stated that the availability of sand is very crucial in order to meet the target set for creation of affordable housing stock.

Maharashtra Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat has assured all necessary assistance for the restoration of sand supply to the MCHI in the meeting, Mr. Mantri said.

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