Mangalore, May 17: Thanks to the illegal sand mining activities that have been going on in the coastal regions of Karnataka, particularly in Karnataka, sand is now not only scarce, but has also gone up in value.
Mr. Dayananda Malli, the office bearer of the District Sand Miners’ Association, said that sand rates have gone up from Rs. 1,800 to Rs. 4,600 within just 3 months and is expected to touch the Rs. 6000 mark the following month because large building companies have commenced building activities after 6 months. Since the government has now cut down restrictions on extracting sand from the river bed following massive protests from builders’ associations, builders can afford to start work again. But this has driven the sand mining mafia to devise new ways of procuring and hoarding sand.
The sand miners have begun supplying sand to large building companies at the old rates, while individual builders need to cough up anywhere between Rs. 4000 – Rs. 4,800 for a load of sand. The individual builders are, therefore, finding it difficult to construct. Moreover, the rising sand prices have affected the cost of building material such as wood, cement, steel, and stones, as well as labor. Several small builders, therefore, have completely given up.
Mr. Jagannath Bhat said that large building companies were discouraging the construction of small houses in a bid to promote the city’s vertical growth and fill their own coffers. They have pressurized the government to implement a wide range of laws that make individual house construction difficult.
The Mangalore City Corporation (MCC) and the Mangalore Urban Development Authority (MUDA) have been urged to delay the issue of licenses for individual house construction through high fees and strict licensing rules.