The ban on sand mining and the delay in its tendering process has resulted in a sudden shortage of the material. And in order to meet the immediate need of the construction industry, developers have started importing sand from, of all places, Pakistan.
Sunil Mantri, president, National Real Estate Development Council (NAREDCO), told dna on Monday that sand was becoming a major issue. "Earlier we depended on sand from other states, but now they have also realised its importance and banned bulk selling. We have hence decided to import it from Pakistan or Dubai," said Mantri.
He said Dubai sand costs Rs 4,000 per cubic metre (here it's only Rs 2,000) and it's not very good. "Pakistan sand is good and cheaper, but transportation cost is a worry," he added.
Anand Gupta, secretary, Builders Association of India, said the offices of the local collectors were responsible for sand shortage. "They delay the auction procedure and motivate illegal dredging. It looks like collectors are hand in glove with the local mafias," Gupta said.
Experts in the industry said the ban on sand mining would have a cascading effect on property prices. "If the construction cost goes up, developers will naturally hike property prices," said Atul Nemade, a real estate expert.
Gupta said the priority of the developers was to complete projects on schedule. "People have booked flats by paying their hard-earned money. It is the responsibility of the developers to hand over flats on time.
Even if the cost of sand is high, we have to some how procure it. The government should see that officials follow procedure and curb illegal activities," he added.