Transport of sand : Cost-reduction will boost construction industry | Sunday Observer

Transport of sand : Cost-reduction will boost construction industry

‘Illegal sand miners should be punished’. File pic: Lake House Media Library
‘Illegal sand miners should be punished’. File pic: Lake House Media Library

The construction industry understands that when natural materials such a sand is used, one has to consider the environmental impact on the resources and that it has to be controlled by the authorities, but not by ristricting its transport, Chairman of Chamber of the Construction Industry (CCI), the umbrella organisation of the construction industry, Ranjith Gunatilleke told the Business Observer last week.

He also blamed former President Maithripala Sirisena for not understanding the real environmental issues which caused the need for the issuing of permits for the transport of sand, gravel and clay.

“We are surprised and shocked that the former President Maithripala Sirisena, also being then Minister of Environment, did not know the real issues behind the sand mining industry which was caused by illegal sand mining and blamed us for the wrong reasons, when he and his Government should have punished illegal sand miners,” CCI Gunatilleke, the President of Chamber of Construction Industry is also the Managing Director of Sanken Construction Ltd.

“We made representations to former President Sirisena several times during his tenure, but like everything else with him, as usual, nothing happened.”

He also remarked that this abolition of permit was long overdue, to the industry by the responsible authorities. This has been requested by industry stakeholders specially the contractors, developers and investors from the respective authorities had many meetings and discussions in the past. It was agreed to list them but for some reason it didn’t materialise,” he said. Now that this Government has abolished the permit system, there will be confidence among contractors, investors and other stakeholders, he said.

Gunatilleke also said that earlier, prior to this permit exemption, the construction industry was greatly inconvenienced with the delays in the transport in the sand, and soil and metal.

This resulted in the delays in the transit times between the supply due to bureaucratic red tape which contributed to additional cost overruns, he said.

There were numerous delays in the bureaucratic red tape at various points. Some days, when the transporters went to government offices to get the permits, the public officials or their staff members on leave, or they purposely delayed the issuance of the permits. Sometimes, there were delays with the Police purposely harassing the transporters at various check points creating additional costs to the construction industry,” he said.

Among the other benefits that will accrue from this decision by the Cabinet of Ministers’ with the prompt decision to temporarily do away permits will be the reduction of the cost of the construction, viability of initiating new projects and also the time taken to complete development projects, to a great extent.

Gunatilleke said the present tax concessions and the removal of certain taxes will certainly reduce the construction cost and also encourage the industry which will help to develop the country.

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