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Have you booked a flat in an under-construction project? Is your flat getting ready in redevelopment project of your housing Society? You may have to get ready for a long wait for keys of your dream house. An acute shortage of sand in the city has slowed down the pace of all kinds of construction activities. All projects, depending upon their aggregate area of construction, are now feared to be delayed by months or by years.

A PIL was filed in Mumbai High Court that continuous sand extraction posed serious environmental threats to riverbeds in the state and if ignored, it could lead to flood-like situations in places close to rivers. However, the Mumbai High Court vacated the month-long stay on sand mining in Maharashtra after expressing its satisfaction over the government’s new policy for sand excavation and the fact that the state has issued a GR on it.

It is learnt that stringent rules and regulations in the policy entails like registration of vehicles transporting the sand, Committee surveying the area before a sand mining contract granted and it would be the government and not the collector who would take a decision on the use of machines. It is feared that the policy is good only for 10 years, after that there will be no sand left for excavating.

As per the recent information published by press, construction in Mumbai has come to a nearly on hold due to a severe shortage of sand which is the most indispensable constituent for any construction activity. The Ready-mix concrete production industries in and around Mumbai have also closed their units till the solving of presently heinous issue of no-supply of sand.

As a consequence against a daily sand demand of 1,000 trucks, hardly 40 to 50 trucks are coming into the city from neighboring state of Gujarat. This sand is available at a heavy premium rate and almost unaffordable to small builders of third tire as the sand prices of yester period earlier as Rs 2,500 per truck load of 2.5 brass (1 brass is equal to 100 cubic feet of sand), have heaved to Rs 12,000 per truck load.

This shortage offers the builders an excuse to record an abrupt hike in project costs. The number of trucks delivering the cargo is likely to drop further because of the new CRZ norms. If the sand shortage intermittently continues, it would bump the construction cost and execution of projects will be delayed as a standard building of 14 floors with two wings occupying 100,000 sq. ft requires nearly 2,700 trucks of sand for the civil work.

It is a matter of serious concern that over 90 per cent of redevelopment of housing societies, commercial construction activities in Mumbai’s suburbs has been under the noxious grip of acute shortage of for over a fortnight.

Despite knowing the seriousness of shortage of sand, there are builders of third tire, who tend to gamble the redevelopment projects beyond their financial and managerial capacity as there is no law or restriction barring them for doing so.

Even the most successful projects are rarely completed precisely according to the original construction schedule. There are many factors responsible for the delays that can have devastating economic effects on both i.e. the purchaser/owner of the flat and the builder. In fact, even when other problems occur on a project, the changing policies of the Government and sudden shortage of material is usually the most expensive consequence.

For continuing their work, developers have started procuring sand by paying higher prices. To make matters worse, rampant smuggling of sand too has started at some areas.

Traders have started extracting sand from rivers and selling it at higher prices. For carrying out the sand mining activities it is necessary to obtain permission from the District Collector. However, illegal sand mining activities are being carried out at many places without such permission. Some builders are getting sand from the black market at four times the cost. This burden will be passed on the customers.

It is an established fact of any economy that any cost estimation requires complete visualization of the project including the probable emergent variation that could be caused due to change in policies of Government whether State or Centre. If the project is not visualized completely in changed circumstances, then certain dark areas like sudden shortage of essential raw material could significantly impact the project cost which could cause havoc in the financial planning of the project.

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