Thursday, December 8, 2022

Golden sands

Demand for construction material will always increase as long as there is construction activity and therefore, it needs to be said that demand will remain but whereas the price of every item will continue to change in an upward incline. Price of items appreciate in varying degrees taking into account the changing factors. Authorities have to keep a tab on the pricing pattern so that they are decided on the basis of acceptable parameters. Price of cement and M.S.rods have been consistently showing an upward curve but the appreciations have been largely due to the manufacturing costs as well as the tax imposed by the Central government. However, the most outrageous price escalation has been sand which is mainly imported from nearby Karbi Anglong. Sand is sold on the basis of cubic foot and it has shown that the factors involved have nothing to do with government policy but the whim and fancies of the syndicates controlling the trade. The sand syndicates at Dimapur and Karbi Anglong are engaged in a pricing war that has been going on for past decades. Recently the Sand Stockists & Suppliers Union of Dimapur and newly created district of Chümoukedima and also a Dimapur-based truck association have expressed resentment at the recent hike on sand. The joint statement indicated that earlier a truck carrying 600 cft of sand had to pay “royalty” of Rs.7000 but in an insane twist, a truck is allowed to carry only 400 cft while the “royalty rate” sky rocketed to Rs.13,000. This can only happen in this part of the world where the bizarre can make price increases even as the quantity decreases. The sand price war between the syndicates at Karbi Anglong and Dimapur have been more or less protectionist in essence-protecting their own turfs. For the end-user, it would have made so much sense if the rate was based on the acceptable parameters which could also ensure that those involved in the trade did not turn it into another form of exploitation. A look at the abnormal hike in rate of sand can be gauged from the fact that while 400 cft of sand from source at Karbi Anglong was Rs.6500, the truck driver will have to pay various unions and ultimately after arriving Dimapur, it is sold for around Rs.20,000. The Karbi Anglong syndicate decided to get wise by enormously hiking the rate of sand since the Dimapur counterpart has been milking the business at the other end. The same sand is again transported to Kohima and other parts of Nagaland with multiple cost. The state government has not taken serious note of this unwholesome and dubious and even criminal offence where extraneous factors are allowed to dictate the fate of construction materials. In this regard, the state government ought to hold a review meeting with the DCs and Forest department and obtain a clear picture that has been blurred by the sin of omission or commission of officials. Next, the state should hold direct talks with the Assam government and Karbi Anglong authorities to get a clear picture and then jointly decide on how to fix rates and prevent middlemen from hijacking the entire trade.

Previous article
Next article
Must Read