Sand prices skyrocket in Rajasthan due to excavation ban
POWER & RENEWABLE ENERGY

Sand prices skyrocket in Rajasthan due to excavation ban

The ban on river sand excavation during monsoon, expiry of most leases, and restrictions imposed on weighbridges by the mining department have led to a rise in illegal mining and skyrocketing prices in the state. According to the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) guidelines, leaseholders can't excavate sand from the river. Traders are selling sand from stockpiles collected before the rain. However, the dispatch of these vehicles/trucks from the truck yard is taking longer due to the new policy, affecting demand and supply and raising prices.

A leaseholder said, "On June 18, 2024, the mining department reduced the number of weighbridges. In a day where 500 vehicles were dispatched, now it has reduced to a maximum of 144 to 150. As there is a gap in demand and supply, many are selling it in the black market."

As river sand commands an exorbitant price in the grey market, people have no option but to buy it at higher rates. Currently, consumers in need are paying Rs 1,500 to 1,750 per tonne, compared to Rs 1,150 per tonne two months ago.

All Rajasthan Bajri Truck Operators Welfare Society president, Naveen Sharma, said, "As there is huge profit in this illegal trade, the mafia have deployed their vehicles. While the department is discouraging the leaseholders, there's no stringent action on illegal traders. Every truckload of bajri is being sold at double the price. Businessmen are sitting at home while the mafia is earning Rs 55,000 per round. A high-level committee should be constituted to eradicate the illegal problem forever."

An official source at the mining department said that the delay in auctioning the lease of sand blocks has also increased prices in the grey market. "At present, all the leases in Sawai Madhopur and Bhilwara are non-operational, and the only supply is from Tonk. Since traders are not able to provide timely supply as per the demand, there is a crisis."

With no immediate relief, middle-income groups have postponed the construction of their houses due to the crisis. Ankur Tiwari, a resident of Vaishali Nagar, said, "Bajri is an essential part of construction. As there is a disruption in supply, I have cancelled my plan to construct a house. I will plan once the rates stabilise."

The ban on river sand excavation during monsoon, expiry of most leases, and restrictions imposed on weighbridges by the mining department have led to a rise in illegal mining and skyrocketing prices in the state. According to the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) guidelines, leaseholders can't excavate sand from the river. Traders are selling sand from stockpiles collected before the rain. However, the dispatch of these vehicles/trucks from the truck yard is taking longer due to the new policy, affecting demand and supply and raising prices. A leaseholder said, On June 18, 2024, the mining department reduced the number of weighbridges. In a day where 500 vehicles were dispatched, now it has reduced to a maximum of 144 to 150. As there is a gap in demand and supply, many are selling it in the black market. As river sand commands an exorbitant price in the grey market, people have no option but to buy it at higher rates. Currently, consumers in need are paying Rs 1,500 to 1,750 per tonne, compared to Rs 1,150 per tonne two months ago. All Rajasthan Bajri Truck Operators Welfare Society president, Naveen Sharma, said, As there is huge profit in this illegal trade, the mafia have deployed their vehicles. While the department is discouraging the leaseholders, there's no stringent action on illegal traders. Every truckload of bajri is being sold at double the price. Businessmen are sitting at home while the mafia is earning Rs 55,000 per round. A high-level committee should be constituted to eradicate the illegal problem forever. An official source at the mining department said that the delay in auctioning the lease of sand blocks has also increased prices in the grey market. At present, all the leases in Sawai Madhopur and Bhilwara are non-operational, and the only supply is from Tonk. Since traders are not able to provide timely supply as per the demand, there is a crisis. With no immediate relief, middle-income groups have postponed the construction of their houses due to the crisis. Ankur Tiwari, a resident of Vaishali Nagar, said, Bajri is an essential part of construction. As there is a disruption in supply, I have cancelled my plan to construct a house. I will plan once the rates stabilise.

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