'Only transportation and seigniorage charges': Chandrababu govt reintroduces free sand policy in AP

The policy has been formally rolled out from July 8.

By Sri Lakshmi Muttevi  Published on  8 July 2024 4:34 AM GMT
Only transportation and seigniorage charges: Chandrababu govt reintroduces free sand policy in AP

Amaravati: Andhra Pradesh has reintroduced the free sand policy again in the state.

Under the policy, people can purchase sand from the reaches by paying only transportation and seigniorage charges. The policy has been formally rolled out from July 8.

According to Mines, Geology, and Excise Minister K Ravindra, the government will supply sand free to everybody in the state by adopting a free sand policy in three months to prop up construction works.

The free sand policy will be implemented as per the guidelines of the State government, where each person can get up to 20 metric tons of sand at a time by producing an Aadhar card and mobile number. Only seigniorage and GST would be collected from the consumers. Sand will be supplied from 6 am to 6 pm, and Tahsildars will be the special officers to monitor the supply. The transactions will be all made online. The cost of sand will vary between districts and sand reaches, depending on the distance from the sand reach to the stock point.

The District Collectors will maintain command-and-control center to monitor the sand operations with CCTV feeds within the district and handle all the complaints relating to sand issues. DMG shall maintain the com mand-and-control center at the State level.

GPS based vehicle tracking will be mandated to enable tracking of the sand despatches. Towards this, all sand transporting vehicles are asked to install GPS based Vehicle Tracking Device.

According to the Minister, the department has identified a stock of 43 lakh tonnes, while the demand for the next three months is estimated to be 88 lakh.

The details of all the depots/desiltation points (referred as "stockyard") such as location, available quantity, notified charges shall be displayed in DMG Website (www. mines.ap.gov.in) on a daily basis to inform the public.

Nara Chandrababu Naidu government had implemented the Free Sand Policy during its 2014-19 tenure. However, when the YSRC formed the government in 2019, the policy was scrapped. Under the previous government, a new policy was undertaken by state-owned AP Mineral Development Corporation (APMDC) Ltd, to supply sand on behalf of the government at the stockyards set up across the state. The consumers were asked to book the sand online, but there were complaints that the stocks were not available. There have also been allegations that the sand is being diverted from stockyards to cities like Bengaluru, Chennai, and Hyderabad and being sold for Rs 80,000 to Rs 1 lakh per truck.

According to the TDP, the erstwhile YSRCP government's sand policy had hit the construction industry in the southern state, resulting in an adverse impact on 40 allied sectors. The party alleges that crores of construction workers suffered due to the previous government's policy of engaging private agencies to sell sand.

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