Rising M-sand demand to cause problems
After exploiting water bodies to the hilt, sand miners in the state are turning their attention to hillocks to cater to the growing demand for manufactured sand, commonly known as M-sand. Environmentalists have flagged their concerns over the depletion of hillocks while industry sources note that hillocks are being overexploited to cater to infrastructure development in neighbouring states. To protect the environment, activists have demanded a curb on quarrying for M-sand and push for import of river sand.
Data available with the industries department shows that a total of 2,156 minor mineral leases, including ones for rough stone, earth and gravel, have been issued. Of these, 850 account for rough stone quarries and 310 among them manufacture M-sand, mostly in hillocks.
The PWD has fixed benchmarks for quality M-sand, which manufacturers should meet, including authorisation by the assessment committee for approval of building products — a body comprising representatives from central and state government agencies.