Kochi: The district administration’s decision to provide sand from the Periyar River for Metro Rail construction might affect supply of sand to the open market. Though the authorities maintain that sand supply to the domestic market would not be hit as they would ensure balanced distribution, the building sector is apprehensive that there would be a scarcity of the building material.
“Even now, shortage of sand is affecting building construction works. Due to scarcity of sand, most of the builders are now using M-sand and Plastering sand for construction works. If sand mined from rivers is being used for Metro Rail works, then common people will find it difficult to get sand at the subsidised rate through local bodies,” said a building contractor.
However, the district collector refuted reports that there would be a scarcity of sand in the market due to supply of sand to the Metro Rail. “Metro Rail is not top priority for the district administration when it comes to supply of sand.
The first priority will be the local beneficiaries and the second priority is for government projects like EMS housing scheme. If 60 loads of sand is mined from a ‘kadavu’ and there are 50 people in queue for supply of sand, only the remaining 10 loads will be supplied to Metro Rail,” district collector P.I Sheikh Pareeth told.
The district administration has also decided to use sand from Muvattupuzha river and other legally permitted sources if enough quantity of sand is not collected from Periyar.
The Kochi Metro Rail Limited has written a letter to the district collector seeking immediate measures for making sand available for Metro construction. With construction works gaining momentum, there will be increased demand for sand.
Sand mining was resumed on Tuesday in 54 ‘kadavu’ under 21 local bodies in the district.
Meanwhile, environmental expert Prof. C.M Joy, alleged that resuming sand mining from rivers was against the directive of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) and the Supreme Court. “,” he said.