Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat has assured to smoothen supply of sand and crushed stones as the shortage has hit the development workers.

“The government will take adequate measures to smoothen the supply,” he said, adding that the shortage of has affected infrastructure development projects.”

During a meeting with a delegation of Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI) today, Mahat said that the government will work out a win-win solution that will help protect environment and also make construction materials available for development works.

Mahat, on the occasion, also said that protecting environment comes first. “However, it is also important to give continuity to local infrastructure development,” he said, assuring the delegation to hold discussions with forest and environment ministers and concerned agencies to find a win-win solution.

The delegation – led by CNI president Narendra Kumar Basnyat – requested Mahat to smoothen supply of boulders, crushed stones and sand. They complained that the shortage has not only started affecting development projects but also given chance to black-markeeters to sale in unprecedented high price. “The shortage of other construction materials like steel and cement also hit many labourers.”

The government banned production of sand and crushed stones completely since mid-July after it brought a new operation criteria for crushers to protest environment.

Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment had introduced new criteria for crusher industries claiming rampant extraction of natural resources, like sand and stones. The rampant extraction has threatened the environment also making it more vulnerable to natural disaster.

More than 700 crushers plants have stopped production as they have been categorised illegal based on the new operation criteria.

CNI also blamed the crushers for cartelling and creating artificial shortage.

But Federation of Crushers and Mines Entrepreneurs claimed that the stock with them will hardly meet demand for two days.

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