Of these, three quarries would be opened in Thanjavur and Namakkal districts within a week, officials told TOI.
The sand wing of the public works department (PWD) had obtained environment clearance (EC) from the expert committee of the State Environment Impact Assessment Committee (SEIAA) for quarries in Sarkarpalayam in Namakkal and Pavanamangalam and Vazhkai in Thanjavur, sources said.
The supply of sand would go up steadily and the price would also come down significantly, said a source. ‘Quarries will be opened in phased manner’.
These are among the 27 new quarries to be opened by August-end to bring down the demand for sand for construction activities that had witnessed a lull after the government closed all sand quarries last year following a Madras high court order. “We are on the verge of obtaining EC for the remaining quarries. They will be opened in a phased manner to increase supply of sand to construction industries through a streamlined system,” said a senior official in the department, seeking anonymity.
Quarries in Mayanur in Karur and Sriramasamuthiram in Trichy that had become defunct due to water stagnation, will also become operational.
The realty sector would benefit as the supply of sand would go up steadily and the price would also come down significantly, said a source, adding that the new technology-driven system would also curtail illegal mining and smuggling of sand to neighbouring states.
Currently, the cost of river sand is between ?120 and ?140 per cubic feet. The government depots, however, offer sand at ?1,350 for two units (?200 per cubic feet).
On an average, 350 to 400 loads of sand would be supplied from each of the quarries every day. Each quarry, spread over around 20 hectares, would be operated for eight months. “Going by the sale of cement bags, the state’s need is between 10,000 and 12,000 loads of sand per day. It was derived by the ratio of cement-sand mixture (1:6),” said another official. But, builders and realtors assess the requirement of sand per day to be 35,000 to 40,000 loads.
Differing with this, the official said around 15,000 loads of sand had been smuggled to neighbouring Karnataka and Kerala. Currently, 3000 loads of sand were being supplied from 15 quarries every day.
From next month end, the PWD-operated depots would supply close to 10,000 loads of sand.
He hinted that more quarries, excluding the 27, would come up within a couple of months. Now, 40% of the total demand for sand is contributed by crushed stone, which is commercially called Manufactured Sand (M Sand).