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Sand crisis: Brick-making units incur heavy losses

The prevailing sand scarcity in the State has not only impacted the construction sector, where the pace and scale of work have taken a hit, but also negatively affected the allied sectors, including brick manufacturing. Around 25,000 people across Prakasam district are either directly or indirectly dependent for their livelihood on brick manufacturing units. 
 
But the scarcity of sand coupled with the recent rains and flood situation have impacted production of bricks and people working there as daily wagers have lost their jobs in large numbers. 
 
“My brother Ramu and I used to go for daily wage work in a nearby brick manufacturing unit. But, since two months, we both are searching for a suitable (alternative) daily wage work for our family’s livelihood. But we hardly find any work. Now, we are working at a cinema hall in Ongole as gatekeepers on daily wage basis and it is very hard to work there,” said Kunchala Hari, a youngster belonging to Karavadi area.
 
There are around 2,000 small and medium-scale brick manufacturing units at Addanki, Valetivaripalem, Jarugumilli, Karavadi, Tripurantakam, Chundi, Komarolu, Kambham, Podili, Pedda Dornala, Markapur, Bestavaripeta and Giddalur areas. 
 
Among these, bricks manufactured at Addanki and Karavadi units, are well-known for their quality and even construction companies from Vijayawada, Hyderabad, Guntur and other distant places procure bricks from these units. However, in the last few months since the new government took over, the production has gone downhill in these units as the sand scarcity has adversely impacted the entire construction industry across the State.
 
To counter the rainy seasons when production goes down, the managements of these brick manufacturing units produce more than their capacity in the months preceding the rainy season and keep stocks for three to four months ready. 
 
However, this year excessive rains and the resulting floods ruined their plans, as stocks kept under the cover of tarpaulin sheets got inundated by floodwaters and were largely rendered useless. Added to this was the sand crisis that slowed down construction work resulting in lesser demand and therefore decreased prices for bricks.
 
Previously, 1,000 bricks were sold in the range of Rs 6,000 to Rs 6,500. But now, the prices have come down to Rs 4,500 to Rs 5,000 only. On the contrary, prices of all materials, including furnace firewood and sticks and chaff/brawn, etc., needed to run the brick units, have increased. 
 
As a result, the brick manufacturing units, one of the mainstays in providing employment in the small sector industries in the district, have been making heavy losses and consequently many daily wage workers in these units have lost their jobs.
 
Brick production plummets
 
There are around 2,000 small and medium-scale brick manufacturing units in Prakasam district. In the last few months, production has gone downhill as sand scarcity has affected the construction industry. 

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