The Tamil Nadu government, on May 11, 2017, said that measures were underway, to promote the use of artificial sand as an alternative to river sand, to be used in the construction sector.
“Steps have been taken, for encouraging the production of M Sand (artificial sand) in place of river sand, considering the demand for sand in construction work,” the government said. ‘Manufactured sand’ or ‘M Sand’ is a substitute for river sand and is produced by crushing of granite.
Environmental clearance has also been secured, for opening seven new sand quarries in the state, it said.
“Steps have been taken for ensuring unhindered supply of sand for people, by establishing new quarries. Wherever required, sand will be sold through Government Sand Sales Depots, which will be set up near rivers,” it said.
Further, payment for the sale of sand, which is so far restricted to demand draft, will soon be done through credit and debit cards, the release said. The release said that patrolling by revenue and police officials will be increased, to check any irregularities, while steps were also being taken to prevent the smuggling of sand to neighbouring states.
Sand mining is a thriving industry in Tamil Nadu, with illegal mining and smuggling of sand to other states turning out to be major issues confronting the sector. Illegal sand mining has led, not only to a fall in water level in river beds and basins, but also affected the flow of rivers across the state.
The failure of the south-west monsoon and north-east monsoon and overexploitation of available groundwater for residential and commercial purposes, have only exacerbated the problem.