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The Madras High Court today sought the Tamil Nadu government's stand on a plea for the use of silica as an alternative building material to avert the deepening water crisis triggered by river sand exploitation. The Madurai bench of the high court sought the state government's stand issuing it notices on the plea made by one Murugesan of this district. The bench of justices K K Sasidharan and G R Swaminathan issued notices also to state's chief secretarey and its Public Works Department's principal secretary, seeking their stands on the plea by August 1. The petitioner submitted that illegal mining of sand from the river bed to the depth of over 10 feet has led to depletion of water level besides the destruction of crops. In several districts including Sivaganga, Dindigul and Tuticorin, sand dunes with silica content upto 95 per cent were available, he claimed. When approached, the government officials, however, said they have to test the silica sand dunes, the petitioner submitted. He said he had suggested silica as an alternative to sand in the interst of the public. Alleging that officials were not taking any step in this regard, he prayed the court to direct authorities concerned to use silica as an alternative to the sand.
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