Sand, gravel suppliers end strike

Officials say mines and minerals dept gave assurance of uniform royalty rates


Z Ali November 01, 2021

HYDERABAD:

The issue of disparity in royalty on lifting gravel from riverbanks and other areas in the Hyderabad division has been resolved, officials said on Sunday.

Sand and gravel are one of the main components of the construction industry, however, the representative body of truckers hauling it had gone on strike on October 22, demanding uniform charges in the division.

Jamshoro District Deputy Commissioner Capt (retd) Fariduddin Mustafa has remained active in negotiating an end to the protests. DC Mustafa told The Express Tribune on Sunday that his administration has convinced the association to call off their protest.

“They will resume the supply of sand and gravel by tonight [Sunday night],” he claimed.

According to him, the officials of the Sindh Mines and Minerals Department have also agreed to notify uniform royalty rates. The two sides met on Sunday in presence of the mines and minerals department officials.

Read ‘Manhandling of staff’ at Hyderabad Circuit House sparks protest

All Sindh Reti Bajri Transport Association President Khoso said hundreds of trucks have lined up in Hyderabad and Jamshoro districts alone. Khsoso claimed while talking to The Express Tribune that 6,000 vehicles have been parked in Jamshoro district alone, which is the center of the protest.

The construction sector has almost ground to a halt in many districts of Sindh as the traders had stopped the supply of gravel and sand as a protest against the provincial government. The construction sector has almost ground to a halt in many districts of Sindh as the traders had stopped the supply of gravel and sand as a protest against the provincial government.

“How can we construct structures without gravel and sand?” asked former Hyderabad region vice chairman of Association of Builders and Developers (ABAD) Kashif Shaikh.

He said almost all construction projects have stopped in Hyderabad. The people building their individual housing units have also been hit hard by the strike. However, a supplier of sand said they have received the announcement about discontinuing the strike.

The All Sindh Reti Bajri Transport Association started the strike on October 22 citing unjustified royalty, illegal taxes, extortion and bribery as the reasons for their protest.

On October 28, a delegation led by Khoso met Hyderabad Division Commissioner Muhammad Abbass Baloch at his office. According to Commissioner Baloch issues like illegal taxes, extortion and bribery will be instantly resolved.

He directed the district administration and the police of Hyderabad, Jamshoro and Thatta districts to address the three issues.

However, the transporters did not end their strike after that meeting and it continued on Saturday with the association claiming that one of the core issues pertaining to the payment of royalty has not been addressed so far.

“The contractors of Sindh mines and minerals development department have been charging unjust royalties which vary from district to district,” claimed Khoso.

According to him, the largest amount of royalty at Rs800 per truck is being charged in Jamshoro district. In Thatta the rate is around Rs400 and in Sehwan around Rs300.

“We have been demanding from the government to fix a uniform royalty. Either it should be Rs800 for all or the lowest one for all.”

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