VISAKHAPATNAM: The newly introduced free sand scheme seems to have failed in its objective to benefit people. Though the overall expense to procure sand have come down, it continues to burn holes in the pockets of individuals and builders and allegedly filling the coffers of the local politicians.
Sand supply has been in the controversy across the state for the past two years. It was alleged that the politicians were controlling the reaches and winning the auctions by collusion. As the prices soared from Rs 12,000-Rs 13,000 per truck to Rs 20,000, the government handed over the operation of sand reaches to SHGs. But, the prices went up to Rs 45,000-50,000 per truckload.
Recently, the government has decided to supply sand free of cost and issued necessary guidelines. The district administration has identified 14 sand reaches in Chodavaram, V Madugula, S Rayavaram, Malavarapalem, Kotavuratla, Pedabayalu and Yelamanchili mandals. Officers were appointed in-charges at each reach and people were informed that they need not pay except for loading charges. “But, they are collecting anywhere between Rs 10,000-Rs 12,000 per truckload in the name of loading and transportation charges. With no other options, we are forced to shell out more,” said J Kiran Kumar, a trader who is constructing a house in Madhurawada.
With no fixed transport charges, private transporters are demanding huge money for loading and transportation of sand. Private persons are reportedly collecting Rs 1,000 to Rs 2,000 for loading and Rs 7,000 to Rs 12,000 for transportation.
“Taking advantage of the loopholes in the instructions, they are collecting huge amount in the name of transportation. Obviously, we cannot purchase a lorry to transport sand, though the government allows us to use our vehicles,” said a city-based builder on condition of anonymity.
If more loads of sand is required, builders are being forced to shell out up to Rs 45,000 per truckload in the black market, it is learnt.
CREDAI Visakhapatanam chapter secretary P Koteswara Rao too admitted that sand supply continues to be a troublesome affair. “We are not being allowed to mine sand to meet our requirements. Notwithstading our repeated pleas, we are not allowed to load sand beyond certain truckloads which is affecting the construction activity,” he added.
Sand Depot Yet to be Reopened
The district administration announced that it would reopen the sand depot by transporting sand from the reaches to the depot and supply the same to people. However, no such initiative has been taken so far. On condition of anonymity, a district level officer involved in the sand supply has admitted to high charges being demanded by labourers and transporters. The situation is unlikely to change unless the government takes a decision to completely handle the sand supply. “The scheme is being implemented on a pilot basis for a month and any loopholes in it are likely to be plugged by the Cabinet sub-committee which is monitoring the implementation,” he said.
- Transporters charge Rs 1,000 to Rs 2,000 for loading and Rs 7,000 to Rs 12,000 for transportation
- With no fixed transport charges in the govt guidelines, private transporters are raking up in the moolah
- Cap on truckloads affects construction activity