Citing sand shortage as the reason, Natural Resources Development Corporation Ltd. (NRDCL) has notified construction owners that each construction site will be eligible for only one truckload of sand per week.

However, this rule applies only to procurement of sand from the Sha/Wangdue region (Punatsangchhu river basin).

NRDCL on Saturday issued a notification stating that the measure was adopted to clear the backlog of money receipts already issued and to facilitate supply to new permit holders. The rule is also expected to provide uniform access for sand to all construction owners.

About 900 construction sites are registered with NRDCL for the supply of sand. During the last five and a half months from January to June 15, NRDCL supplied about 23,300 truckloads of sand from the Sha region.

Supplies to western dzongkhags are met from Wangdue in normal situations. However, NRDCL stated that the current supply volume is not sufficient to meet the demand of growing construction sites, especially in Thimphu and Paro.

NRDCL CEO Sonam Wangchuk said that the situation arose because of the rise in water level, which affects the company’s extraction capacity.

NRDCL also notified that the stocked sand has been exhausted.

He said that the stock NRDCL maintains at the riverbanks got summered due to the rise in water level. “Construction sites have also increased compared to last year,” he said.

To address the shortage, NRDCL has notified that the company has stocked sand in other places like Gelephu and Lhamoidzingkha in Dagana. NRDCL has requested customers to supplement sand from these areas in case of bulk requirement.

Sonam Wangchuk said that owners of large construction sites in western and central dzongkhags could fulfil their requirement from Gelephu and Lhamoidzingkha.

NRDCL said that it was developing alternate resources to river sand and that the alternatives would be made available within July this year.

The CEO said that people so far had been depending only on the tradition source of sand. NRDCL, he added, was in the process of making sand available through stone crushing methods and by extracting natural sand.

Currently, NRDCL has deployed six dredging machines in the Sha region.

When all the machines are put to use, the company can provide around 60-75 truckloads of sand on daily basis.

The shortage has occurred despite the company deploying two more sand dredging machines in May at Punatshangchhu river basin. According to NRDCL, sand collected using these machines is much superior than sand collected through other means as it does not contain any mud, silt and mica in it.

MB Subba