Karnataka

Rules to be tweaked to allow sand import: T.B. Jayachandra

The amendment to Minor Minerals Concession Rules that will allow import of river sand will be placed before the Cabinet for approval, said Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister T.B. Jayachandra.   | Photo Credit: File Photo

To enable import of river sand from foreign countries, amendment to Minor Minerals Concession Rules has been finalised and will be placed before the Cabinet for approval, said Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister T.B. Jayachandra here on Monday.

“The amendments required for the import was finalised today. So far, we did not have any regulations to control import of sand. Once the Cabinet approves the amendments, we can start importing sand,” he told reporters, adding that the state-run Mysore Sales International Ltd. (MSIL) will be importing the sand.

Currently, the demand for sand in the state is around 35 million tonnes, of which about 40% is being met through river sand. “Import of sand to meet the shortfall has to be regulated since it falls under open general license regime. Modalities for permission and procedures have been incorporated in the amendment,” he said.

The Cabinet, in August this year, had approved import of sand. While a truck load (10 tonnes) of imported sand cost between ₹15,000 and ₹20,000, industry players say that the locally sourced river sand in Bengaluru now cost ₹50,000 to ₹60,000 for a truck load (between 18 and 20 tonnes). They point out that M-sand costs around ₹1,250 per tonne.

“We are not even sure whether the river sand, which is available now, is actually from the river bed or filtered sand whose quality is very poor. The cost of local river sand is also volatile,” said K. Ramesh, managing partner at Arna Shelters. “The quality of imported sand may suffer without proper quality control,” he added.

According to Mr. Jayachandra, MSIL has called global tenders for supply of sand and has received samples from different countries, including Phillipines and Malaysia. “MSIL will be an agency for import and even private players can import sand to state. This is an experiment to overcome the shortfall. Let us see how the sand import works.” On the issue of quality control of imported sand, he said that the amendments to rules are being worked out to safeguard the interest of the buyers.

Task Force to be disbanded

Meanwhile, the state has also decided to disband the district-level task force mandated to process applications from M-sand producers to set up units. “The task force was set up to process applications quickly. However, we found that about 7,000 to 8,000 applications, most of which are from South Karnataka region, are still pending. The applications will now be processed by the Department of Mines and Geology. Currently, there are around 60 M-sand manufacturing units in the State.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2021 1:31:14 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/rules-to-be-tweaked-to-allow-sand-import-tb-jayachandra/article19949115.ece

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