CM particular about checking revenue loss and ensuring transparency
The State government has decided to do away with the free sand policy and return to the original practice of selling it directly to consumers from September 5. However, there would not be any third party in the process.
The Andhra Pradesh Mineral Development Corporation (APMDC) would sell the sand. The idea is to ensure both consumers and the government gain from the arrangement.
The previous government, for the first time in the country, introduced the free sand policy in 2016. The sand was made available free of cost, and it was included it in the list of essential commodities. But, soon it ran into trouble with questions being raised over loss of revenue and the alleged involvement of the sand mafia.
The government plans to establish stock yards near the sand reaches apart from setting up additional ones in cities and towns. Weigh bridges, CC Cameras would be installed at the sand reaches and stock yards. The price of sand would be fixed below the existing rates. Also, vehicles used for transportation would be tracked through GPS technology.
The decision was announced by the government after Chief Minister Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy held a review meeting on Thursday.
He was of the view that the revenue was going into the hands of the sand mafia due to the free policy of the previous government.
Mr. Jagan asked officials to issue receipts to transport the sand at all points — from reach to the stockyard. The quantity of sand excavated would be assessed by using the weigh bridges. Also, sand going out from the stockyard would be weighed again.
Stringent action would be taken against people who resort to unauthorised/illegal mining.
The APMDC would develop an App and web portal for the benefit of consumers. Until the new policy comes into force, the district Collectors would be responsible for mining and supply. Identification of new reaches would be completed in two months.
Deputy CM (Revenue) P. Subhash Chandrabose, Home Minister M. Sucharita, Panchayat Raj Minister P. Ramchandra Reddy, Finance Minister B. Rajendranath Reddy, Water Resources Minister P. Anil Kumar Yadav, Forest Minister B. Srinivas Reddy, and Government Advisor Ajeya Kallam were present.