PWD to use artificial sand for construction

From now on, the Public Works Department (PWD) will have to use only artificial sand in its construction projects.

“We are encouraging the use of artificial sand on a large scale and as part of this, it will be mandatory for the PWD to use the artificial granular material instead of natural sand,” said T B Jayachandra, Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs, here on Monday.

Though there is demand for 33 lakh tonnes of sand in the State, the actual amount available is only eight to nine lakh tonnes. Most PWD projects have come to a halt due to scarcity of sand. “It’s mostly middlemen who are thriving due to this huge mismatch between demand and supply, the minister said.

At Bidadi in Ramanagar district, it is said that some entrepreneurs have come forward to set up artificial sand manufacturing units at places marked as ‘safe zone’ by the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) for setting up stone crusher units.

“In safe zones of other districts also, we will give permission for setting up artificial sand manufacturing units,” Jayachandra said.

According to the minister, the government is already holding consultation with the KSPCB on approving artifical sand manufacturing units and giving speedy permits to set up factories. It may be noted that Jayachandra is a member of the cabinet subcommittee formed to discuss the sand mining policy.

Meantime, the government has proposed to combine the sand and jelly stone crushing policies under a single head, before draft rules come up next month. A committee has been formed to prepare draft rules for the purpose, Jayachandra added.

“We wanted the draft rules in 21 days, but the officials sought more time. They have now been given a month to prepare the draft rules,” he said, adding that a policy was needed urgently as sand supply was becoming a huge problem.

The committee is set to include officials of law, revenue and other departments concerned.

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