Bengaluru: The Government is making all efforts to ease the problem of sand shortage for construction purpose and strike at the sand mafia. Because of the shortage, sand is being sold at exorbitant prices and now it (Government) is planning to sell at Rs. 35,000 per lorry load, said Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister T.B. Jayachandra.
Addressing the media here yesterday, Jayachandra said that a company from Malaysia has agreed to supply the sand that will reach all the district centres. This will be supplied through MSIL (Mysore Sales International Limited) outlets at Rs. 3,500 per ton to the customers.
A tender had been called for supply of sand and four countries including Burma, Malaysia and Phillipines had participated. The lowest bidder was Malaysia and it was chosen, he said.
Nearly 40 to 50 lakh metric ton of ship load of sand will be transported from Malaysia, which should fulfil the requirement of the State. Even the illegal sand supplying can be curbed through this effort, said Jayachandra.
As there is a severe shortage of sand for construction purpose, there is a huge demand and it is being sold at Rs. 80,000 to Rs. One lakh per lorry load. However, with the import of sand from Malaysia, such activities will come to a halt, he said.
Drying coconut, arecanut trees: The State is reeling under severe drought condition and with the continuous failure of monsoon this time too, nearly 2.28 crore coconut and arecanut trees have dried up. Nearly 45 lakh coconut trees and 1.83 arecanut trees have succumbed to diseases and many trees have been uprooted. There is a fear that if the dry spell continues, then both the horticulture and commercial crops will be destroyed. In the last 13 years, the State had copious rains only for three years, while in the remaining ten years due to shortage of rain there is drought.
The farmers are trying their best to save the horticulutural crops and they are digging borewells by going 1,000 to 1,200 feet deep for water. If they go so deep how could the coconut and arecanut trees survive? he asked.
A memorandum will be submitted to the Centre for relief to the coconut and arecanut growers. Reeling out statistics, he said that in all, 1.83 lakh hectares of coconut and 0.51 lakh hectares of arecanut have been destroyed. Collecting all the information and statistics from the State regarding crop loss, we will go to Delhi and first meet the Union Home Minister and if need be also the Prime Minister in the next one week and highlight the problems. Also, we will request the Centre to change the National Disaster Response Fund guidelines, he said.
However, the Government is also promoting M-Sand or manufactured sand in a big way as an alternative to the river sand and even this is available at as low a cost as between Rs. 650 to Rs. 1,650 a ton, depending upon the quality.