Amaravati: After assuming office, the YSRCP government banned the existing free-sand policy and a new policy was implemented from September 5 by introducing online booking by categorising the customers as general and bulk. The new system implements rigid conditions in regards to environmental clearances, with the State Level Environment Impact Assessment Authority being able to give permissions to sand reaches up to five hectares.
If it is above five and less than 25 hectares, then a public hearing is mandatory. Mines and revenue officials with assistance from police need to collect opinion from the locals under the supervision of AP Pollution Control Board Engineers. If the reaches’ extent is more than 25 hectares, then a public hearing is conducted, and afterwards, the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MOEF) will study and give permissions. In the previous free-sand policy, no such conditions were imposed.
Sand reaches’ extent is confined to five hectares to avoid public hearing, to clear the initial rush. However, permissions from MOEF and SEIAA are necessary. Twelve sand reaches in Srikakulam — Madapam, Yaragam, Peddasavalapuram, Purusottapuram, Parlam and Andhavaram in River Vamsadhara and Killipalem, Kallepalli, Muddada Peta, Chevvakulapeta, Gopalapatnam and Singuru reaches in River Nagavali — have already been approved by SEIAA.
“Conducting a public hearing and obtaining permissions from MOEF required a long time, and so, to supply sand to customers, the government has allowed permission for sand mining at reaches up to five hectares,” said Deputy Director (DD) for Mines and Geology Department SKV Satyanarayana.