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Sunday, 17 April 2016

Sand lorry owners scrapping vehicles to make ends meet - MYSORE ( Karnataka )

           Over 500 sand lorries in Mysuru have been scrapped in the last few months

Rizwan, 44, used to earn a decent livelihood from his sand lorry. But ever since a ban was imposed on extraction of sand from river beds, he has lost his only source of income. When his debts began mounting, Rizwan sold the lorry, which he had bought for Rs 3.5 lakh in 2009, for just Rs. 1.2 lakh to a scrap merchant.

“Not only was I finding it difficult to feed my family, I was not able to pay the school fees of my two daughters. I had no option but to scrap the vehicle,” said Rizwan, who is physically challenged.

Rizwan is not alone in this. More than 500 out of the estimated 1,400 sand lorries in Mysuru have been scrapped and dismantled in junkyards during the last few months, said Azghar Ahmed Y.K., secretary of the Mysuru District Rural Lorry Owners’ Association.

Unable to feed their families, many of the remaining lorry owners are also on the verge of scrapping their vehicles. The sand lorries, whose capacity had been fixed at 5.5 cubic metres under the State Sand Policy of 2011, are of no use to the crushers and M-sand (manufactured sand) producers, who have their own fleet of tippers to supply the material.

“A sand lorry is as good as junk if there no sand to supply. The other construction material suppliers do not engage sand lorries to transport size stones, crushed stones, bricks and M-Sand,” said Mr. Ahmed. Also, tippers do not require labourers for unloading, unlike sand lorries.

While most sand lorry owners have not been able to pay their quarterly transport tax — amounting to Rs. 3,000 — to the RTO, some do not even have the money to pay parking fee to owners of the sheds where their vehicles have been standing for months now.

Now, many lorry owners and drivers are doing odd jobs for a living even as the lorries rust away under the hot summer sun. “If a constant vigil is not mounted, vagabonds steal parts of the parked lorries, including tyres and engines, and sell them,” said Chand Pasha, who has parked his lorry at Sathgalli, near the ring road.

Such vehicles are of no use to crushers and M-sand producers, who have their tippers.

Source : The Hindu , 14th April 2016 

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