HYDERABAD: In a move achieve two targets, Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu has decided to modify the state’s sand mining policy to checkmate the politician-back contractors’ lobby, some his political rivals, and to prevent illegal sand quarrying, which has led to losses for the exchequer.
In order to implement the poll promise of bringing in transparency in sand mining and end the mafia regime in the sector, Naidu is reportedly making key changes in the existing policy.
According to sources, the chief minister is considering two alternatives to bid adieu to the present system of allotment of feasible sand-bearing areas to politician-backed contractors. One is to lease out sand reaches directly to self help groups under the guidance of the AP mineral development corporation (APDMC) and the second one is to allow the APDMC to directly undertake quarrying and selling of sand.
It is learnt that Naidu is leaning towards the first option. By doing so he wants to achieve three objectives at one go -- to checkmate rival politicians who are making huge profits by backing the sand mafia, prevent illegal sand quarrying and benefit lakhs of women self-help groups in the state. Naidu’s proposed decision, if implemented in the same way, might sound a death knell to the politician-backed contractor regime.
The chief minister on Wednesday reviewed the existing sand mining policy at the Lake View Guest House. Naidu reportedly said though the lottery system, instead of the tender-cum-public auction system, was put in place by the previous Congress regime, the lottery system was also helping politician-backed contractors get sand reaches on lease.
The chief minister felt that these contractors, after getting sand mining leases, are resorting to illegal activities like exporting sand to other states and selling it in the black market.
Naidu felt despite the existence of clearly laid out rules for the contractors, no heed is being paid to them. In order to prevent this, the government wants to issue specific guidelines for sand mining even in private lands along river beds.
Women and child welfare minister P Sujatha and state government’s advisor (communications) Parakala Prabhakar, principal secretary for industries JSV Prasad and some other officials of the mining department took part in the meeting.
If implemented, the policy will sound a death knell to the politicos-backed contractors’ regime
This or That?
Naidu wants to eliminate politicos-backed contractor’s regime in sand mining
To lease out sand reaches to self-help groups or allow the APMDC to undertake mining
Naidu is zeroing in on allotting sand reaches to DWACRA women. This will benefit 75 lakh families
Govt gets only Rs 130 crore
Every year a turnover of more than `8,000 crore is recorded in the sand mining sector. But, the State government gets a paltry sum of `130 crore from the concerned contractors in the form of levy.
Nothing for Govt
l Illegal sand mining rampant in Srikakulam, Vizag, twin Godavari districts, Krishna and Guntur
Acute groundwater crisis in the villages along these rivers
Govt gets only Rs 27 per tonne in the form of levy
Contractors sell the sand at Rs 1,100 to 2,500 per tonne
Naidu wants people to prefer rock sand over normal sand