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Sand crisis halts construction projects worth Rs 5K cr in Jharkhand

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Ranchi, June 6 (Ajit Weekly News) The acute shortage of sand in Jharkhand has put the brakes on government and private construction schemes worth about Rs 5,000 crore. Owing to the crisis, the construction work of a smart city and flyover in Ranchi as well as alleys and drains across the state has come to a halt. This problem is not likely to end till the end of the monsoon. In such a situation, the construction work in the state is expected to come to a complete standstill for the next four months.

The situation has arisen due to the non-auction of sand ghats in the state. The state government had announced conducting the auction of sand ghats in March, but the mining department could not start the process on time due to technical reasons. When the issue was raised in the assembly, the government had officially said on March 9 that the process of tendering the sand ghats would be started within 15 days.

This could not happen. Thereafter, all types of tenders were banned in the state as the Model Code of Conduct came into force after the announcement of Panchayat elections on April 9. Though the code of conduct became ineffective after the completion of the process of Panchayat elections on May 31, but as per the order of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) sand will not be lifted from the rivers in the monsoon season from June 10 to October 15.

Dilip Singh, president of Ranchi’s Sand Traders Association, says that 90 per cent of the stock of sand traders in the entire state has been exhausted. “Until the auction of sand ghats, the alternative arrangement was made by Jharkhand State Mineral Development Corporation to give sand permits online, however it was not possible to provide sand according to the demand of the market even earlier, and now due to the order of NGT, the lifting of sand will stop completely from 10 June,” he said.

“The government used to provide stockist licences to traders every year before the monsoon, but this time licences were not issued due to the negligence of the officials. In such a situation, if there is no proper arrangement, then the construction work may come to a complete halt in the entire state,” Dilip Singh said.

Jharkhand Urban Development Company Ltd, the agency which is building the smart city in Ranchi, (JUDCO), wrote two letters to the Deputy Commissioner of Ranchi last month about stoppage of work due to paucity of sand, but no steps could be taken to resolve the problem. Similarly, the construction work of a flyover at Kantatoli in Ranchi city has stopped.

Dinesh Chand Agarwal of Infracon Private Limited, a construction company, has signed a contract with JUDCO to complete the flyover work in 24 months, but now the company says that due to non-availability of sand, the work will not be completed on time.

Ganesh Tiwari, director of Swastik Construction Company, says that due to the scarcity of sand in Jharkhand, the work of private builders in the entire state including Ranchi has been affected. “In the black market, sand is available at four times the price. Those who are compulsively buying sand from the black market, the cost of their projects has increased. At least 200 private housing projects have been affected in Ranchi alone,” he said.

–Ajit Weekly News

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