Visakhapatnam: The state government has decided to encourage the use of crushed rock as sand, by way of an alternative to river sand. The construction sector across the state has been facing its worst ever sand scarcity due to supply and cost issues. This has transpired after the state government, responding to widespread criticism of sand mining being run in an unorganised manner, handed over sand quarrying to women Self Help Groups who have no knowledge of mining.
With river sand quarrying also facing criticism for its effect on the environment, the government is now looking at alternatives to river sand for the construction sector.
Manufactured sand is the perfect substitute to river sand and is manufactured by crushing rocks using the latest technology of crushing. But builders are skeptical about its continued supply as there are not enough manufacturing units. There are two currently operational in Vizag, which get minimum loads, while a third closed down. Builders have also often complained about its quality.
“In most cases, we get 20 per cent dust more than sand. If quality manufactured sand is available we are all ready to take it for our construction activity,” said a senior member of the Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India.
In the earlier system, sand reaches were auctioned by the State Mines Department and private miners used to sell the raw material. Now, the state government has decided to implement the new sand policy, offering incentives, such as a power subsidy and exemption from VAT, to producers.
While the sand requirement for both government and private construction activity in Vizag alone stands at 11 lakh cubic m, at present only 1.5 lakh cubic m of sand is available locally.
According to government estimates, the Indian Navy has an urgent requirement of 2.5 lakh cubic m of sand for the construction of its Naval Alternative Operations Base (NAOB). The Polavaram project needs 2.3 lakh cubic m and private builders need around 2.19 lakh cubic m of sand immediately.
PSUs also have an requirement of a few lakhs cubic m of sand....