Punatsangchu sand dredging site might run out of sand next month

If you are constructing a house at the moment, we have some bad news for you. The Natural Resources Development Cooperation’s sand stockyard in Wangdue Phodrang, which supplies sand to the western region, is about to run out of sand in a few weeks. The NRDCL says the sand deposits in the Punatsangchhu are also low this time and could lead to a drastic decrease in sand supply from next month.

The sand stockyard at Tshokorna village carries a deserted look. Usually, almost 200 truckloads of sand are supplied from Wangdue Phodrang daily.

Tshokorna stockyard is running out of sand. According to the NRDCL’s Sha Branch Office, it has stopped dredging sand from the Punatsangchhu in Tshokorna. The branch office also stopped taking online sand orders.

“There is no sand in the river this time, as there was no flood last year. So, it is true that we have low sand production. We are thinking that sand in our stockyard will last only up to the mid of next month,” said Kinley, the regional manager of NRDCL.

The office supplies three types of sand, one directly from the river, another from the stockyard, and the third from the dredging sites.

Sand is supplied from dredging sites only after sand at the stockyard is exhausted.

“We will not be able to supply more than 60 to 70 truckloads of sand from next month onwards,” added the regional manager of NRDCL.

With the next best option to get sand for the western region being Phuentshogling and Kalikhola in Dagana, truckers who ferry sand say sand prices in the market will increase drastically.

“One sand extraction site is in Phuentshogling and it takes at least three days to reach one truckload of sand to Thimphu. Accordingly, the transportation charges will increase since expenses will increase. Therefore, everybody is facing problems when consumers question the NRDCL about increased transportation charges,” said Kinley, a driver.

“It is just in the fourth month and there is a sand shortage. Later, for a truckload of sand, we would have to charge almost Nu 29,000 per truckload. Because we normally charge that much when we transport it from Phuntshogling and Kalikhola,” said Sonam Chhophel, another driver.

Concerns have also been raised about increased sand trade in the black market.

The Natural Resources Development Corporation has six sand dredging machines at the Punatsangchhu site below Rinchengang village. The branch office will deploy a further two machines at the site soon.

Changa Dorji, Wangdue Phodrang

Edited by Sherub Dorji

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