The government’s plan to import sand from Malaysia has turned out to be a damp squib.
The decision to import sand from Malaysia was taken expressly to address the acute shortage of sand. But it turns out that three lakh tonnes of Malaysian sand is lying unused, according to mines secretary Rajender Kumar Kataria.
“There are 1.5 lakh tonnes of Malaysian sand at a Mangaluru port and another 1.5 lakh tonnes at the Krishnapatnam port in Andhra Pradesh. The landed cost is too high, which does not make business sense,” Kataria told reporters.
Apparently, the landed cost (the total price of a product or shipment including original price, transportation fee, customs, duties, taxes, tariffs and so on) for the Malaysian sand works out to Rs 2,000 per tonne. “This is high when compared with the manufactured sand (M-Sand), which is Rs 800-1,000 per tonne,” Kataria said.
At present, the demand for sand in the state is pegged at 3.3 crore tonnes. “We’re able to extract 40-45 lakh tonnes from rivers and we get 2.3 crore tonnes of M-Sand. There’s a shortfall of about 40 lakh tonnes of sand,” Kataria said, admitting that illegal mining of sand was one of the reasons for shortage.
The government, he said, has deployed officials to study the sand policy in Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat to see how the state’s own sand policy could be simplified.