Allow private companies to import sand: lorry owners

Say the price fixed by the government is abnormal and shocking

The Tamil Nadu Sand Lorry Owners’ Federation has urged the State government to accord permission to private companies to import sand for construction activities.

Speaking to reporters here on Saturday, Sella Rajamani, federation president, said a Pudukottai-based private company imported about 50,000 tonnes of sand from Malaysia in the recent past and had stocked it in Thoothukudi.

He said that the Madras High Court recently gave a green signal for marketing imported sand. Following this, the Public Works Department fixed a price of ₹9,990 per unit for the imported sand.

Mr. Rajamani said that when a unit of sand was marketed at ₹1,330 in government quarries, fixing ₹9,990 for per unit of imported sand was abnormal and sent shock waves across the State. After procuring the sand at ₹9,990 per unit in Thoothukudi, sand lorry owners would be forced to market it at a price as high as ₹20,000 in other parts of the State. This would affect the construction industry, he said. He also criticised the decision of the government to provide imported sand to lorries that were not registered online at PWD quarries. This posed a threat to the existence of the lorries that had already registered.

The State government should come forward to take steps for the opening of 70 sand quarries as announced by the Chief Minister with immediate effect to protect the livelihood of sand lorry owners and those involved in the construction industry and also provide sand to the common people at a reasonable price.

Mr. Sella Rajamani said that to bring down the price of sand, the government should accord permission to all those who apply for importing sand.

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