Sand shortage in Rajasthan and Punjab still persists which in turn is affecting construction activities in the region. Sand prices remain elevated in Rajasthan and in Punjab also there is a decline in availability of sand resulting in sand prices moving up to Rs32/cft. This in turn has affected the sale of cement in those states. Though dealers in North India announced a hike in the cement price in April, no price hike was announced in Rajasthan and Punjab.
On the other hand, availability of sand has improved considerably in Bihar which has pushed further down the price of sand in the state. It is reported that sand price has gone down to Rs 40 cft in and around Patna. Availability of sand has improved cement offtake from the housing segment in Patna.
In Uttar Pradesh, though sand prices have declined in recent months, still they are on the higher side vis-a-vis pre-ban period. Sand price at Rs70 per cft is lower compared to the high prices seen in second quarter of FY18 when the prices were ruling at Rs120/cft. It should be noted that average price of sand was Rs30-40 per cft before the mining issue erupted. In Madhya Pradesh, which has announced e-challan system to sell sand, too is facing sand shortage in some parts of the state. Though the situation has improved considerably when compared to last year, complete normalcy has not yet returned in sand availability in the state. Also, strict enforcement of truck overloading rules has impacted the transportation and its cost in the state.
It may be recalled here that the Sand Committee set up by the Ministry of Mines last year had studied the policies and the processes governing sand mining in various states. Based on this study, the Committee had prepared a report which presented the findings emanating from the various state visits and also proposed a common set of recommendations for streamlining sand mining policies and processes in the states. However, it may take some more time for these policies to be implemented and bring back normalcy in sand supply.