Builders and contractors have started breathing easy as the sand supply situation has been improving in the country. It may be remembered here that the sand supply situation in the country had worsened last year when several states had banned sand mining following the court order. As a result construction activities in several parts of the country were adversely affected.
Though sand supply in Southern states had started improving much earlier, Tamil Nadu was an exception. With the increased acceptability of M-sand in the state, normalcy in supply is returning. Karnataka is also importing sand from South East Asia through MSIL to meet the shortage. Supply of sand in Telengana and Andhra is normal.
In Bihar too there is substantial improvement in sand availability in the state in recent weeks. While a directive on resuming sand mining had been issued in December last year, the rules of selling sand against e-challans and requirement of GPS equipment on trucks and tractors faced protests initially. However, those protests have subsided and all vehicles transporting sand have GPS installed. Increased availability of sand has led to a significant decline in sand prices from Rs 80 per cubic foot to Rs 50 per cubic foot.
Perhaps Rajasthan is the only state in the country where ban on sand mining still continues. The Supreme Court in its last order had stated that the report on replenishment with respect to 19 sand mine leases will be studied and examined, before deciding on the matter. The matter is listed on Supreme Court for hearing only on March 23rd. In the mean time, prices of sand in the state have increased to Rs 100 per cubic foot as against Rs 30 per cubic foot prior to the ban on sand mining.