The Rajasthan government on Monday brought the much-awaited policy on manufactured sand (M-sand), giving industry status to the units producing it for construction work and reducing the dependence on bajri (riverbed sand). The Supreme Court had banned illegal mining on riverbeds in 2017.
Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot launched the new policy at his official residence here, while affirming that it would prove to be a “game changer” for the construction industry. The policy would help create employment opportunities through new units and resolve the issue of huge quantities of waste generated in the mining areas, he said.
“Sufficient quantity of sand [for construction] is not available in Rajasthan in the wake of judicial orders and environment-related procedures. The new policy will ensure availability of M-sand as a long-term alternative to natural bajri,” Mr. Gehlot said.
The policy will enable the investors to set up M-sand units by utilising the incentives and facilities offered by the State government. It will also help in environmental protection and generate faith among the public in the efficacy of M-sand for construction works.
Mines Minister Pramod Bhaya said the demand for sand in the construction sector had touched 70 million tonnes, which would be met by the new policy. About 20 M-sand units operating in the State are at present producing 20,000 tonnes per day. The M-sand is produced after crushing hard granite stones and rocks extracted from quarries.
The Supreme Court had on November 16, 2017 restrained 82 large lease holders in the State from carrying out mining of riverbed sand. The mining was banned until a scientific replenishment study was completed and the Ministry of Environment and Forest granted the clearance. The apex court later appointed a Central Empowered Committee to look into the issue of illegal sand mining.