MADURAI:The term Manufactured Sand (M-Sand) or artificial sand has gained fresh currency after last week’s verdict, but how many people know what it is all about? Very few actually do, according to V Vijay, a partner at South India Chemicals, which manufacturer M-Sand at Madurai. Blue metal, commonly called Jally, is the major component in M-Sand.
The dust and grains of the blue metal are processed in quarries and the granules are equivalent to the quality of sand. However, the usage of sand and what should be used for construction is decided by the engineer or the mason, who directly deals with the building of a structure.
“Usually, people go by the advice of the construction engineer and prefer using natural sand,” he observed.
According to Vetrikumaran, President of Association of Madurai Civil Engineers, the court could have considered giving more time to adapt to M-Sand as there are a large number of employees in the construction industry.
Unless the government conducts a proper awareness programme on the use of artificial sand for construction, it will not get widespread acceptance. The government should set a precedent by constructing its buildings using artificial sand so that people develop trust in the material and use it, he suggested.
Welcoming the court order on sand import, Vetrikumaran said the quality of artificial sand would be better than domestically manufactured sand. At present, there were no proper grading facilities to check the the quality of river sand but when it comes to M-Sand, there are various parameters, he added.
Rajaram, a retired PWD engineer, said there would be no revenue loss to the government if the State itself manufactured and sold the M-Sand through a corporation. “Many of our neighbouring states do that. Prominent builders in the State, especially those into large construction, have already started using the artificial sand,” he added.
During a government function in Madurai in May last, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami stressed on the need of using M-Sand, while inaugurating an over bridge.
Pointing out the low rainfall in the State, the CM had said it was the sand in rivers that preserved the water and in order to protect the rivers, sand mining would be stopped in the State within two to three years. He urged the people to start using artificial sand for all construction purposes.
Taken in the right spirit, the recent court verdict could act as a force multiplier for the promise made by the chief minister.