The building industry has a serious challenge: how can they build without sand. One of nature’s marvels is that you cannot use seashore sand for construction. The other option before builders is to use stone quarry dust.
Punjab has brought about in the last 3 years an almost-total ban on sand and gravel mining. That has led to a serious downside—a sharp rise in demand for stone quarry dust, and the increased energy consumption that these stone-crusher owners need.
Prices of sand and gravel at stone-crusher units have gone up at least 3 times in just the last 6 years. And the price of crushed stone in crushers has gone up from Rs 11 per cubic foot to Rs 18 per cubic foot. A truckload of crushed stone, which is used as building material, now costs between Rs 13,000 and Rs 15,000 compared to about Rs 10,000 earlier.
The demand for sand from rivulets in Himachal Pradesh has also gone up sharply after the ban on mining in Punjab. The sources say the hike in demand has promoted illegal mining in rivulets.