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Long wait for a load of sand

For V. Surya (25), a sand lorry driver of Karur, Monday was yet another day of excruciating wait to get his turn for loading sand at Sinthalavadi in the Cauvery. He had joined in a long queue of about 2,000 lorries on June 21 to load sand. Twenty days have passed since he joined in a queue. Yet, he could not get a load till 5 p.m. on Monday.

He was not the only one, who is waiting for days together to load sand. More than 1,000 lorries have been waiting in the queue along Tiruchi-Karur road near Sinthalavadi for their turn to load sand. The queue moves at a snail pace.

Most of the drivers were from Karur, Manapparai, Vellakovil, Tiruppur, Coimbatore and other western region of the State. They spend day and night in lorry cabins. While a few drivers visit their homes in the night, drivers belonging to far off places sleep in the cabins forgoing comforts. They visit nearby roadside eateries for breakfast and lunch.

“Life is pathetic for us. After waiting in the queue for the last 20 days, I have come nearer to the sand reach. It is really painful to wait in queue for days together for our turn,” said Mr. Surya.

Some drivers, who feel bored over the long wait, visit a TASMAC shop to drink mainly to kill time. They then rejoin the queue.

“How long can we be waiting in queue with nothing else to do? So we go for a drink,” said a driver of Manapparai.

V. Moorthy, another driver of Karur, said almost all sand trucks had been bought by availing loan from private money lenders. The lorry owners had to pay monthly dues to avoid penalties. But, many of them could not honour the commitment as they got chance to load only one load of sand once in 15 to 20 days. The issue of inordinate delay had to be sorted out immediately.

Enquires revealed that the online system of booking of sand was yet to be extended to Sinthalavadi and Mayanur sand reaches on the Cauvery. It seems that officials were waiting to clear the queue of lorries before introducing online booking system at the reaches.


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