Bengaluru

State pushes for M-sand to close demand-supply gap

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Panel to clear applications of those seeking permission to establish M-sand units

To close the demand-supply gap for sand and stop illegal extraction of natural sand from riverbeds, the State government has decided to “liberally” promote manufactured-sand (M-sand) units in districts by clearing pending applications.

At present, hundreds of applications are pending before the government seeking permission for establishing M-sand units. A Cabinet sub-committee, headed by Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister T.B. Jayachandra, has been constituted to scrutinise applications as well as formulate rules for M-sand establishments.

The panel will bring out a specific M-sand policy to increase sand production in districts. To encourage production, the government has decided to provide five per cent subsidy on interest on loans availed from banks to set up the units. The interest subsidy would encourage entrepreneurs to convert crusher units into M-sand.

To generate demand for M-sand, the government has made it mandatory for the Public Works Department (PWD) to use only M-sand for the construction of government buildings, bridges and other works. The demand for sand in the State stood at 24 million tonnes a year, against the supply of 14 million tonnes. Presently, 35 units are manufacturing M-sand and most of them are located in Bengaluru Rural, Kolar, Chickballapur, Ramanagaram, and Tumakuru districts. These units manufacture 5.2 million tonnes a year.

In Bengaluru, the cost of M-sand is around Rs. 30,000 a truckload, against Rs. 40,000 a truckload of natural sand. Again, the price depends on the quality of M-sand. Official sources said the government was keen on deregulating M-sand business to allow private firms to invest in M-sand units to ensure increase in production in the coming years.

Owing to depletion of groundwater, extraction of natural sand from rivers has been regulated strictly. Currently, nearly 9 million tonnes of sand is extracted from identified locations in rivers, the officials said.






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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 9:18:47 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/state-pushes-for-msand-to-close-demandsupply-gap/article7907344.ece

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