Rising rivers gladden hearts of sand mining industry in Tamil Nadu
Rising rivers and brimming dams have kindled the hopes of not just farmers, but gladdened the hearts of river sand mining industry as well. While farmers hope for higher yield, construction sector can look forward to scooping more sand. Heavy water flow in key rivers will bring alone fresh sand and fill deep pits on riverbeds, created by unscrupulous miners.
At present, however, all sand quarries, except for two in Cuddalore and Tiruvallur districts, have been shut, pushing the prices of river sand to a new high.
“Sand may be replaced from one location to another on the river course. It may not increase the existing (sand) stock, but will partially refill the pits, where sand was mined in the past, as water flows from the upstream,” said former professor of Madras Institute of Development Studies S Janakarajan. Sand will not replenish with just a rain or excessive inflow, he clarifies, adding, “it takes centuries for the process.”
Water gushing out from dams also carries sand and deposits in pits left behind by sand quarry lobby. Once water has its course and riverbed dries during hotter months, the quarries shut for want of sand may become active again. Till two months ago, the public works department (PWD) was operating 12 sand quarries across the state. But, most have to be closed and the number pruned to two in the light of swelling water levels in rivers.