Sand scarcity is going to be a thing of past for Tamil Nadu soon as the government is taking some steps to improve the supply conditions. The state PWD department has given approval for 24 crushed sand manufacturing units or M-Sand units for use in construction industry. PWD has given a go ahead only after thorough inspection of the site and testing of the M-sand for quality. It is rumoured that there are more than 50 companies waiting for PWD’s approval to supply M-sand.
Tamil Nadu is facing acute shortage of sand and a total of 10 million sq feet of construction projects are affected due to sand scarcity. However, PWD was initially unwilling to use manufactured sand in construction activities due to poor quality of the material. It was often found that quarry dust containing flaky particles and higher percentage of micro fines (particles less than 75 micron) being supplied in the name of manufactured sand which could affect the quality of concrete and other works.
Despite the approval given by the PWD for M-sand, river sand is still the preferred material among the builders. Further, builders feel that inspection at the time of approval is not enough to maintain the quality and the authorities need to monitor M-sand reqularly. One benefit of the state government’s approval for M-sand suppliers is its impact on price. The price which was ruling around Rs 70 per cubic feet has come down by Rs 10-15 per cubic feet. Also, there are unconfirmed reports which say that there are plans to raise the price of sand from Rs 650 per truck load to Rs 850 to 875 per truck load.