Tamil Nadu

‘Policy for M-sand to be put in place soon’

Around 22,000 loads of M-sand are being supplied across the State.  

In three months, the State government will put in place an M-sand policy that aims 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, government officials have said.

The Public Works Department has submitted a draft M-sand policy for scrutiny by the government. The PWD’s high-level assessment committee has certified 184 manufacturers across the State for the quality of the product. Once the M-sand policy is implemented, it will be mandatory for manufacturers to get approval for the quality of the material. PWD officials said that with limited availability of river and imported sand, the use of M-sand in construction activity had risen by 60-65%. Around 22,000 loads of M-sand were being supplied across the State, of which nearly 5,000 loads were sent to Chennai and neighbouring areas. There were around 320 manufacturing units in the State that had been approved by the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board for operation. Fifty more had applied for quality approval. The remaining units that were yet to apply for PWD certification needed to be brought under the net, officials said.

This month, the committee received applications from different parts of the State, including Madurai, Virudhunagar and Tirunelveli. More units will ensure the availability of material in the proximity of the consumers.

“We will be launching a website for M-sand in one or two months, where consumers may register their complaints about adulterated sand. Details of approved manufacturing units will also be posted online,” an official said.

What it entails

The draft policy, which is under consideration, has recommended the provision of loans and subsidy to new firms and increasing the availability of M-sand. Besides technical support, government agencies may coordinate on demand in a particular region, it suggests. It would also address various aspects like the specification of the manufacturing process and transportation, the procedures to start a unit and renew a licence, the delegation of powers for inspection and imposition of penalty on adulterated sand. For instance, lorries supplying M-sand loads would have to produce test reports and the PWD certification during delivery.

While district committees have been suggested for monitoring purposes, PWD officials would carry out site inspections once in two months. There are around 100-200 manufacturers that have been found operating without a licence. The policy would specify rules and levy of fines or imprisonment for producing poor quality M-sand or for unlicensed operation. Government agencies, including the PWD, Police and Revenue Departments, would be vested with powers to take action against erring manufacturers. This would help increase the availability of M-sand and bring down its cost, officials said.

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Printable version | Jul 29, 2021 11:21:11 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/policy-for-m-sand-to-be-put-in-place-soon/article29185988.ece

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