Sand being sold at exorbitant rates in Kashmir

Excelsior Correspondent

SRINAGAR, Sept 21: With the resumption of construction activities, the sand prices have shot up in Kashmir and people blame administration for acting as a mute spectator.
Even though the Government has fixed a price of Rs 7500 for a truckload of sand, the mafia is asking around Rs 9000-11000 for the same. “Transportation charges of around Rs 3000 means that we have to pay around Rs 13,000- 15,000 for a truckload of sand,” Manzoor Ahmad, a local said.
The residents deplored the construction work has been severely impacted because of the abrupt upswing in the sand prices. They requested authorities to act tough against the violators. “After being suspended for over six months, I restarted the construction work of my new house. But, I cannot handle the steep cost of construction material like sand,” said Asif Ahmad, another resident said.
The locals at Baramulla said the failure of authority to regulate rates encouraged sand mafia to carry illegal mining during midnight hours. “As their profits had doubled they work extra time to make money. Every night they install sand extracting machine at various spots including Janbazpora and Chakla,” another local said, adding that they are taking advantage of the COVID 19 as administration is utilized the bulk of its resources on tackling the disease and acts like these get unnoticed.
The locals alleged that the illegal sand mining is being carried in connivance with some of the tainted officials. “Last night a violator damaged the costly water pipe of the Irrigation and Flood Control department, but the matter was hushed up. Why did not they investigate the matter? How are they getting benefited from the act,” a local asks?
Mohammad Ahsan Mir, Additional Deputy Commissioner Baramulla, told Excelsior that the administration would take stern action against the violators. “This thing needs to be curbed. We will investigate the matter and take action if violations are found,” he said.