Vijayawada: Shortage of sand hits construction

VIJAYAWADA: Nearly a 5 lakh workforce engaged in construction and allied sectors in AP State are facing severe difficulties in finding work due to stopping of construction activity. Centering workers, bar benders, fitter, hammer, mason, mixer driver, roller driver, mixer/pump operator, mud/cement mixing worker,   mosaic/polishing worker, plumber, pre-fabricating structural worker, rigger, sawer, stone cutter/brea-ker/crusher, blacksmith, tile roofing worker, welder, well sinker, electrician, painter/varnisher, drainage worker, kalasis, landscaping workers, lift/escalator installers, glassworker, earth-worker, caulker, brickmaker, supervisors, construction engineers, planners, site engineers and other workers are facing trouble due to the slump in the construction industry.

Foreman Sk Sharif said that at least 10 persons initially would get work from the construction of a small building but the sand shortage stopped construction activity. He said that electricians, plumbers, fabricators, painters, glass workers, interior designers and others were dependent on the construction sector. He said that these construction workers were unable to do other works as they were trained and habituated to do construction works. He said that it was the first time the construction sector was experiencing severe work crisis due to sand shortage and sought the government to take measures for the improvement of sand supply.

Mason K. Ramanja-neyulu said that he earlier used to earn Rs 500 to Rs 700 per day and sometimes used to work on holidays also due to demand. He lamented that but now he was hardly getting work once or twice in a week and was facing a severe financial crisis. Centering workers G. Krishna and S. Raju said that they had taken on cleaning work in hotels due to unavailability of centering works. They stated that they were natives of Vijayawada and went to Guntur, Eluru, Visakhapatnam and Rajahmundry in search of work but in vain as construction activity was halted due to sand shortage.

CITU Building Workers Union secretary P. Madhav said, “We staged protests several times demanding that the government initiate measures for sand supply but in vain.”

He said that the government announced the supply of sand under the new sand policy from September 5 but still sand was unavailable to the common public and it had become costly. He said that earlier sand was available for Rs 2,500 per lorry but now the cost had increased to between Rs 11,000 and Rs 15,000 according to demand and distance which was restraining construction activity.

He demanded that the government give Rs 10,000 compensation to each construction worker due to loss of work as a result of the sand shortage.


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