Sand scarcity is a major problem in Tamil Nadu due to which construction work is getting hampered. Considering the gravity of the situation, the state government has decided to come out with a policy for M-sand soon.
M-Sand (Manufactured sand) is a substitute of river sand for concrete construction. Manufactured sand is produced from hard granite stone by crushing. The crushed sand is of cubical shape with grounded edges, washed and graded to as a construction material.
The Public Works Department of Tamil Nadu has submitted a draft M-sand policy for scrutiny by the government. The State government is expected to put in place an M-sand policy within three months. The proposed policy will aim to promote the use of M-sand as an alternative building material and eliminate the pervasion of sub-standard products in the market through regulation of trade.
Once the M-sand policy is implemented, it will be mandatory for manufacturers to get approval for the quality of the material. The state PWD’s high-level assessment committee has already certified 184 manufacturers across the State for the quality of the product. It should be noted that Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board had approved 320 manufacturing units in the State for operation. Fifty more had reportedly applied for quality approval. The remaining units are yet to apply for PWD certification.
Sand being a minor mineral, the regulation of grant of mineral concessions for minor minerals is, therefore, within the legislative and administrative domain of the state governments. As a result, laws relating sand mining varies from state to state. Only thing which is common in sand mining in almost every state is that it is controlled by mafias often with the blessings of politicians. Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change had issued Sustainable Sand Mining Management Guidelines, 2016, which, inter-alia, addresses the issues relating to regulation of sand mining.