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We in Kerala are very special in that we think either from the bottom of the stomach or occassionally from the bottom of our feet. Such thought landed us in the situation where the construction sector came to a grinding halt for want of what the aam aadmi calls sand and the engineer calls fine aggregate. Coarse aggregate an important constituent of concrete is always manufactured while the fine aggregate the sand always had to come from a river bed or valley.

Even in the mid 80’s I tried to popuularise the idea after a study of the Neyyar river that the government should licence parties to manufacturer sand and not to stop with the making of metal or coarse aggregate.
It went into deaf years of the artists and administrators. Now all the rivers (majority are samll and only some are medium in size) are out of sand and so construction industry started suffering which also affected other manufacturing sectors and employment market.
The only solution will be to start off sand manufacturing units in all the districts of the state to meet the demand with in the district as well as outside.
There is absolutely no way of getting more sand from river channels. It is all exhausted. The “scientific” methods used by the CWRDM and CESS has gone wrong some where. Otherwise, we would have had sand as well as sandy rivers.
One thing the scientists did not reckon was the ability of nature to ,make sand. Iyt takes a million years to covert one meter thick slab of roick to disintegrate. This is the process that releases quartz in the rock which is the chief ingredient of sand. But the sand content in a unit slab is only 30% and that is the catch.

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