Andhra Pradesh

State fails to pressurise govt. contractors to use M-sand

Tractors getting ready at a sand reach near Hindupur to deliver the load to a customer in Anantapur district on Tuesday.

Tractors getting ready at a sand reach near Hindupur to deliver the load to a customer in Anantapur district on Tuesday.   | Photo Credit: R.V.S. Prasad

Rock sand not included in Standard Schedule of Rates

At a time when there was a severe crisis for sand in the construction sector, the government had been urging large construction groups to use M-sand or manufactured sand (rock sand) But ironically it did not put pressure on its own departmental contractors to use this sand for the government works.

The government contractors and departmental engineers are constrained by the Standard Schedule of Rates (SSR), which does not include M-sand. Unless the State government includes it in the SSR, none of the estimates can be prepared using this and bills will not be passed. Karnataka, which has encouraged large-scale use of M-sand, had asked the majority of construction companies in and around Bengaluru to use this sand.

When contacted, Anantapur Deputy Director of Mines and Geology Alavakonda Chandramouli told The Hindu that there were large reserves of granite and road metal (another form of granite) and if M-sand was made compulsory in the government works and large construction projects, the sand from streams and rivers could be used for domestic/individual purposes. This will ease the pressure to a large extent, he observed.

Many people had come forward to set up factories/crushers about a decade ago, but due to lack of patronage had shelved the idea. Similar thing was witnessed with the ‘sand dunes’ at Kannekal, which pose a great problem to farmers and residents in the area. “This sand is very fine and can be used in refractory bricks, ceramics and for plastering only in general house construction. But people stopped coming forward to utilising this with several apprehensions,” he added.

This area, which is popularly known as the desert of Andhra Pradesh, or where according to many the process of desertification had started due to low rainfall in the district, can become hub for such industries, and experts said at least 10 of them can survive for a long time. Post summer and during early monsoon, gusty winds pose big problem for farmers and residents as sand shifts from one place to another.

Door delivery

The door delivery of sand, which has begun in the Krishna district on a pilot basis, is likely to begin in Anantapur district in the last phase between January 20 and 31. Meanwhile, the GPS-fixed vehicles were registering themselves so that people can book sand online and pay the transport charges from the stock point or the loading point in the reaches, Mr. Chandramouli said. Currently, there are 335 overexploited villages in Anantapur, where sand mining cannot be done. But about 15 lakh tonnes of sand was available and of which 3.35 lakh tonnes had already been mined and some quantity supplied to the users, he said.

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Printable version | Jul 5, 2020 7:13:45 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/state-fails-to-pressurise-govt-contractors-to-use-m-sand/article30505292.ece

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