Udupi, Sep 21, 2018: The Udupi District Building and Construction Workers’ Association members ffiliated to the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), staged a dharna outside the Deputy Commissioner’s Office here on Thursday demanding a solution to the problem of sand shortage in the district.
Addressing the protesters, Balakrishna Shetty, secretary of the district unit of the association, said since the sand problem had escalated, building and construction workers were jobless. The price of sand which was Rs. 7,000 to Rs. 8,000 for three units (that is a truckload of sand) had now increased to Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 16,000. Because of the steep hike in the price of sand, those intending to build houses and buildings were postponing their plans.
The district administration had not identified sand dunes that were obstructing boats of fishermen in the rivers. With the result, besides the construction and building workers, those removing sand, those loading it to trucks, and truck drivers, were all without work. This had affected the economy of the district. There was a ban on extracting sand during June and July. One and a half month had since elapsed, but the problem had not been solved.
Demands : The association wanted per unit of sand to be available at Rs. 2,000. Those with traditional boats should be allowed to remove excess sand. The pension of construction and building workers should be increased and they should be provided with Provident Fund and ESI facilities. The government should provide sites to the poor without sites and give them subsidised loans to construction houses, Mr. Shetty said.
Office-bearers of the association took part.
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