Muktsar, September 9
Construction works in the Malwa region have taken a hit owing to the skyrocketing prices of sand and gravel. Sand is selling at Rs 45-46 per cubic ft in Malout and adjoining areas against the fixed retail price of Rs 9 per cubic ft (excluding freight charges).
Sources said mining ban in the state for three monsoon months (July-September) and crackdown on mafia led to a spurt in the prices.
In Malout, gravel is available at Rs 44-45 per cubic ft against the fixed price of Rs 20 per cubic ft. In Muktsar, sand is being sold at Rs 130 per quintal (1 cubic ft weighs around 40 kg) and gravel Rs 115 per quintal.
Similar is the case in neighbouring Fazilka and other districts. The authorities have increased vigil against illegal ferrying of material from other states. Last week, the police in Pathankot impounded truckloads of sand from Karnal and gravel from Himachal.
Realtors and locals who are constructing their houses said they were forced to halt the work due to soaring sand and gravel prices. The sources said Ghaggar sand was not available at present and dealers were selling Karnal sand at Rs 48 per cubic ft. A Muktsar-based dealer said, “The prices are expected to go down once the mining resumes. It’s a temporary phase due to supply and demand mismatch.”
PS Sekhon, Executive Engineer, Mining Department, Muktsar, said, “Mining operations are shut due to the rainy season. The prices will come down once the mining resumes on October 1. We send a daily report of market rates to the head office. Some dealers may have stored the material and supplying it at higher prices.”
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