Identifying new quarries and allowing sale of manufactured sand are some of the measures on Saturday proposed by the south Indian state Tamil Nadu government to streamline sand mining in the state.
State Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa chaired a review meeting against the backdrop of Madurai Bench of Madras High Court ruling that all quarries in the Cauvery river that are more than five years old must be closed down in three months, while new quarries can be started only after getting Environment Impact Assessment certificate and No objection certificate from the pollution control board.
Ms Jayalalithaa said all departments concerned and district collectors should ensure sand mining was done without affecting the environment.
"To prevent shortage of sand, it has been decided to identify new quarries and obtain State Environment Impact Assessment Authority's approval and stop illegal mining in unapproved zones," she said in a statement in Chennai.
Further, to promote use of manufactured sand, made of crushed stones, necessary licences to private players will be issued to start such units and also allow existing stone crushing units to manufacture it, she said.
"If required, loans will be arranged through Tamil Nadu Industrial Investment Corporation, for purchase of necessary equipment for this purpose," she said, adding that the steps would ensure normal availability of sand for people at low rates.
Senior cabinet colleagues, including Finance Minister O Panneerslevam besides Chief Secretary Debendranath Sarangi, attended the meeting.