The Madras High Court’s order to shut down sand quarries within six months will hit the construction industry hard, as it will bring the industry to a halt with no clear alternative in place.

The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court today ordered the closure of sand quarries in Tamil Nadu within the next six months to protect natural resources.

The order also allowed the import of sand from Malaysia that was held up at the Tuticorin port.

The verdict comes after the case was filed by the MRM Ramaiya Enterprises against the seizure of 55,000 tonnes of sand imported from Malaysia.

The demand for sand in Tamil Nadu is 10 million Cubic Feet (CFT) per day. Currently only 5 million CFT of sand, through a combination of M-sand and river sand, are available for construction purposes.

While river sand cost about ₹140 per CFT, M-sand can be got at ₹65 per CFT though they are not produced in huge volumes.

Suresh Krishn, Past President, Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India, Chennai Chapter, said, “Construction projects worth ₹10,000 crore of investment will be in jeopardy if we do not have access to quality sand.”