Though the supply of sand has slightly improved in Punjab, prices seem to defy the gravity and are keeping their upward momentum un-hindered. The cost of sand has gone up to Rs 3,300 per 100 cubic ft which makes the construction of houses for lower middle income group almost impossible.
With unprecedented construction boom, demand for the material has gone up exponentially and the supply has been dwindling continuously over the past few years owing to environmental restrictions imposed by the Centre and other governing institutes. Sand is not available near to some of the major consumption hubs and transportation of sand across long distances tends to be uneconomical. Further, there is no alternative of the river sand which is available in many of the states due to various reasons. The central government has come out with a draft sand policy to help the states to have a proper policy on this important building material which is largely managed by mafia.
People in Punjab are raising their voice against steep rise in the prices of other building materials too like cement and steel. It should be noted that summer is the peak construction season in the country and material price remains high during this period. Some people have started postponing their construction to a later date when the prices may cool down. It may be noted here that some states have started supplying important building materials like cement and steel at subsidised rates for people in low income group. Telangana government is supplying sand free of cost for construction of affordable houses.