Tamil Nadu

PWD plans to use drones to monitor sand quarrying

The Public Works Department (PWD) is planning to use drones to identify potential quarrying sites and also monitor sand quarrying operations across the State.

The proposal has been submitted to the State government and the PWD is awaiting its nod.

At present, nearly 10 river sand quarries are being operated across districts, including Villupuram, Vellore and Nagapattinam.

The department plans to use the drone survey to measure the area and depth of the sand quarries. It had earlier sought the support of the Madras Institute of Technology, Anna University, for the project.

According to sources, the drone survey would be done once a month and it would help in preventing illegal sand mining. Moreover, the department had installed a weighbridge in one of the sand depots in Vellore district to check overloading of lorries. The pilot project would soon be extended to other quarries as well.

On an average, about 1,500 loads of river sand are made available for online sale daily. PWD officials said that one more quarry in Cuddalore district would be opened later this week.

The department is awaiting environment clearance to open new quarries in places such as Tiruchi, Thanjavur and Nagapattinam.

About 15,000 loads of M-sand are also being supplied daily. Measures are being taken to reduce the supply crunch. The department is set to begin online sale of imported sand this week. The 10th ship with Malaysian sand has arrived at the Kattupalli port.

About 54,000 tonnes of imported sand would be available for sale, officials said.

While welcoming the government’s efforts to record online sale of nearly 6,000 loads of river sand last week, members of the Tamil Nadu State Sand Lorry Owners’ Federation said the PWD must increase the number of loads to 10,000-15,000 per week. S. Yuvaraj, president of the Federation, said this would help every lorry to get loads twice a month and support their livelihood. Moreover, imported sand was priced at lower rates in neighbouring ports such as Krishnapatnam port, Andhra Pradesh. The State government must consider decreasing the price of imported sand.

However, officials of the PWD said the price of imported sand was fixed at ₹2,350 per tonne based on the dollar value.

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Printable version | Oct 1, 2020 1:24:10 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/pwd-plans-to-use-drones-to-monitor-sand-quarrying/article32084291.ece

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