Made in Malaysia sand is making a comeback



By
Noor Aiman


In another push to popularise ‘videshi’ sand, Mysore Sales International Limited (MSIL), the nodal agency, is all set to resume sales from next month.

This is another bid from MSIL after no demand for ‘videshi’ sand in the state. To tide off the sand crisis and save the river banks, the State Government had taken up an ambitious plan of importing sand from Malaysia in 2018. Since then, 1.03 lakh tonnes of sand have been imported. However, there seems to be an unsteady demand as MSIL has been able to sell only 14,759 tonnes of sand so far. In fact, the imports have stopped since February 2020 where 89,000 tonnes of sand imported from Malaysia is lying at Krishnapatnam port in Andhra Pradesh.

The decision to import sand was taken in 2017 to save the river banks where rampant sand mining was happening (it continues illegally even today), thereby threatening the existence of rivers. Initially, it was planned to import three lakh tonnes of sand every year. A notification was issued in 2017 when to sell the imported sand in plastic bags. However, the order was revised on October 24, 2019 when it was decided to scrap the sale of sand via plastic bags.



Currently, the department of mines and geology of Andhra Pradesh has permitted transportation of sand via road to Karnataka. As per the agreement, MSIL has to pay Rs 60 as royalty per tonne of sand. The imported sand from Malaysia will reach the stockyard in Whitefield. MSIL plans to resume the sale of sand from October. Every month, around 15,000 tonnes of sand is likely to be transported. Each tonne of sand costs Rs 2,750 (excluding GST). The MSIL is hopeful of selling 89,000 tonnes of sand by March 31 next year.

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Sources said that as there was less demand from real estate giants or other builders, imported sand should be used by government agencies (PWD, Water Resources department, BBMP, BMRCL, KRDCL and so on) for their construction works. However, the government agencies have not been using it as they claim that they cannot force the contractors to use only the imported sand. However, the public feels that if government agencies can popularise the imported sand, then it can gain traction elsewhere.

During the initial days, importing sand from Malaysia (M-sand ) had turned out to be a Herculean task as the Malaysian government initially denied permission for a company that was exporting sand.

However, the State Government had to do a lot to get the deal finalised. MSIL wanted to sell 50-kg bag sand for Rs 200. But many builders in the city prefer M-sand for construction activities.



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Sagar Biswas

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