Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry E.M. Sudarsana Natchiappan on Monday said that people in southern districts must welcome innovations such as the use of Manufactured Sand (M-sand) in construction of buildings and pre-fabricated houses.

Inaugurating a business meet on M-sand organised jointly by Tamil Nadu Chamber of Commerce of Industry (TNCCI) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) - Madurai region here, he urged existing as well as prospective entrepreneurs to invest in innovative sectors.

M-sand was an effective alternative to river sand which had become scarce and expensive apart from posing a threat to the environment due to its over exploitation. At present, there were only 17 rivers in the State and they remain bone dry during most parts of the year, he said.

Water bodies destroyed

“Around 18 lakh open wells and 10,000 water bodies had been destroyed in the State in the last 10 years. One of the destroyed water bodies in Madurai is now the District Court campus and the other is the High Court (Bench),” he said amidst loud applause.

TNCCI senior president S. Rethinavelu said that many people had mistaken crusher dust for M-sand. He explained that while river sand was obtained through natural crushing of stones, M-sand was created through crushing stones with the help of gigantic machines.

“Concrete required for building construction should be created by mixing cement, a soft aggregate, a coarse aggregate and water. The soft aggregate need not necessarily be river sand. It can also be M-sand which has much better qualities than river sand.

“M-sand does not contain organic impurities as it is washed before delivery. M-sand is available for mixing concrete as well as for plastering work and there are machines which can produce as much as 200 tonnes of M-sand per hour. It is used widely in the neighbouring States,” he said.

Mr. Rethinavelu also said that the State Government should ban quarrying of river sand in order to promote M-sand.

Kathir Kamanathan, president, CII-Madurai region, said it was high time that people started looking at M-sand as a credible alternative to river sand.

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