The demand for houses, apartments constructed five years ago has gone up compared to the houses constructed down the years. The reason is the houses are constructed using M-Sand, with acute shortage of river sand in the region.
Majority of the builders have already switched over to construct houses using M Sand, people who are buying properties are not very keen to acquire them because of the perception that M-Sand used in the construction is mere stone dust and may not be strong enough to last longer. This has severely hit the real estate business as most builders agree.
Builders who were hitherto constructing posh houses, villas and apartments are unable to find buyers. They say the market has fallen miserably over the past three years as majority of the investors have turned to invest on sites rather than purchasing constructed houses, as they are built using M-Sand.
Jagadish from Builder Association of India said: 'People are not still not convinced that M Sand is much better than the river sand. The demand for houses has come down after construction took place using M-Sand. In spite of creating awareness through seminars and public talks there is a long way to go before people finally begin to accept M-sand. They are keen only to invest in sites.
“While the sand excavated from river beds here is going to Bengaluru, we in turn are getting river sand form Mengaluru which is infiltrated with salt from the nearby sea coast and is not suitable for construction as it quickens the rusting of iron rods when used as concrete. Such problems do not arise in M-Sand. The localities who are aware of the constructions in Mysuru which is done using M Sand refuse to buy. The government should take steps to make the locally excavated sand for the use of localites,” observed another builder Vishwanth.
“The real estate industry in Mysore has taken a severe beating, as there is a steep fall in the prices of real estate. Excavated sand are going to Bengaluru, and the sand available in black market is not affordable. There are many people who have postponed house construction works,” said Building contractor Muralidhar.
Another builder said that the inquires has fallen down and most of them who make the purchases of buildings, apartments are people from outside Karnataka. Realtor Prashanth said that people first inquire the year when the house was constructed, because if they were built before 2011 they are certain of having built using river sand. 'Non issuing of permits for sand loads, has led to increase in illegal sand mining. The sad part is river sand excavated is transported to Bengaluru, and the sand available in black market is not affordable,' he adds.
Bhat, resident of Sharadadevi nagar said with non availability of sand they have postponed the construction of their dream houses, and they are not convinced of M Sand. Though BAI has chalked out several measures to educate people about M Sand, still several flats are lying vacant in Mysuru. While a cubic feet of M Sand costs anywhere between Rs 45 to Rs 65 the river sand on the other hand is being sold for upto Rs 120 per cubic feet.
Livelihood of those engaged in construction field including truck drivers, construction workers are affected severely due to unavailability of sand. They curse the 'unscientific' sand policy that led to paucity of sand in district and the construction works have come to standstill from last three years.
Construction Workers Association President Siddegowda said: 'Large number of people have become jobless and the percentage of hiring labour is very less. Women labours are working at garments, and as house maids. Hardly we manage to get work for 2-3 days, and with the earned meager money its challenging to lead life, and look after family. The problems faced by us is explainable. The government should take a call and make the sand available for localities.'
Thousands of truck sold to scrap merchant
Nearly 2000 truck drivers engaged in transportation of sand are leading a miserable life. Without income to manage the family, they have sold the lorry, some lorries have been seized, while some have sold to scrap merchant.
According to Mysuru District Lorry Owners Association President Revanna more than 1350 sand lorries have dismantled and dumped in junk yards in a year and most of them have sold lorries, while some have left city in search of job, with failure to pay rent for lorry owners. Few of them have purchased auto while some have rented Ape truck, they have joined as private bus cleaners, and other odd jobs to earn of livelihood.
District Construction Materials Suppliers Association Member Afroz said that with scarcity of sand thousands of families have come to streets. 'From last three years we are facing severe problems. Our dream to lead a happy life, as still remained unfulfilled.