Visakhapatnam: Unearthing a major finding for the economic and industrial opportunity, a nuanced academic research finding claims that the 17-km stretch along the Vizag coast from Pudimadaka to Bangarammapalem contains rich and high-quality sand when compared to other places.
The components are suitable for industries and are rich in rare Titanium dioxide which is the most important white pigment used in coating, plastic and paper industry. These are the findings of a research work conducted by B. Vijaya Lakshmi as a part of her thesis under the guidance of Prof K. Satyanarayana Reddy from Andhra University. She also works as an Assistant Geologist at Asst Director of Mines and Geology (Vizag).
Given the important components, the total heavy minerals from 100gm of a sample collected in the study area is 31.31 per cent which comprises of 35 per cent ilmenite, 34 per cent sillimanite, 18 per cent garnet, 3 per cent magnetite, 1 per cent rutile, 1 per cent zircon and 8 per cent of other heavy minerals and the concentration of kyanite, monazite and leucoxene is almost negligible.
For instance, one of the component, rutile, though present in a very low quantity on the studied stretch contains 97.45 per cent Titanium dioxide (TiO2) and is of superior quality when compared to that of U.S.A and Chavara in Kerala, Manavalakurichi of TN and Chhatrapur grade of Odisha where these mineral are found. The ilmenites (FeTiO 3 ) of the present study area also contains 48.21% TiO2.
This apart, chemical studies of garnets reveal that the coastal sediments in the study area contain dominantly of detrital almandine (also known as almandite) and because of its hardness and angular to subangular nature (less transported) are opted for sandblasting in the abrasive industry and for water jet-cutting. The researcher collected 65 samples from various micro environments and subjected them to sieving, heavy mineral separation, microscopic identification and geo-chemical analysis.
“The chemical grade of these minerals is high and contains few impurities within limits of industrial specifications. The distribution and concentration of heavy minerals, the grain size distribution and chemical characteristics indicate that the sediments are economically important,” said researcher B. Vijaya Lakshmi.
High cost of sand leads to property price rise
The state government's ambitious free sand policy was helpful only for the mafia, not property buyers. Contractors, builders, home buyers and everyone related to the construction sector are facing losses due to this policy, except those are mining sand.
According to the Confederation of Real Estate Developers' Associations of India, the builders shall only pay transportation and loading charges amounting to `7,000 and `3,000 respectively, for a 12-tyre truck that carries 5 units of sand from the ramps in Srikakulam to Visakhapatnam. However, they are currently paying Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000 for the same.
As per the policy, charges shall only be collected for supply of sand. Builders are pay for the loading as well. But, they have to pay more than double. This extra burden will be ultimately transferred to the home buyers. The rise in cost of construction increases the property price about Rs 100-125 per sft, Credai Visakhapatnam Chapter chairman GVVS Narayana said.
Though the government has been taking strict measures to curb the activities of the sand mafia, there is no much relief to the builders. It has appointed a nodal officer and installed cameras at the sand ramps but of no use. Earlier, state used to get a revenue of Rs 600 crore a year through the allotment of sand ramps. The builders have never faced scarcity or high cost issues at that time, he informed.
Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation Contractors Association president T Veera Reddy also said that the state government has failed in the implementation of the free sand policy. The sand is not available at the two ramps allotted to them in Srikakulam district. They had to bring illegally from the sand mafia by paying them double rates....