VIJAYAWADA: In Anantapur, Guntur, East Godavari and other districts in the state, sand availability is improving, but the common man is finding it difficult to place an order online.
Further, transportation cost has increased, making sand costlier than before. There are four sand reaches in Anantapur, which are now fully functional and authorities are trying to get permission to open four more reaches in the district to meet the demand. The cost of sand is Rs 375 per tonne at the reaches.
The process includes waiting for hours at Meeseva centres to place the order for sand, taking the receipt along with the vehicle to the stockyard, where he/she has to spend some 3-4 hours in queue to get the sand loaded into the truck.
Transportation charges vary and there is no definite price. Depending on the distance, a tractor load can cost anywhere between Rs 4,000 and Rs 6,000.
In villages, though panchayat secretaries are issuing sand requirement certificates, preference is being given to political recommendations and quantum of sand permitted to them is not limited. In contrast, the general consumer is getting small quantity of sand, that too after much delay. Sand smuggling is happening in Anantapur, which has borders with Karnataka.
Allegedly with the backing of political leaders, every day several hundreds of tonnes of sand is getting smuggled out of Anantapur to Bellary and Bengaluru.
In the last five months, 303 cases of illegal cross-border transportation of sand were registered during random checking and as many as 456 tractors and 25 lorries were seized.
The situation is no different in neighbouring Kurnool district, where only three of the 11 sand reaches are functional due to floods in Tungabhadra River. Though sand is available at the price fixed by the government - Rs 375 per tonne — when transportation charges are added, the cost is coming to `5,000-Rs 15,000 per tractor load and Rs 30,000 per truck load.
In Kadapa district, all the seven sand reaches are working, but the consumer is getting a tractor load for not less than Rs 5,000.
“The situation was better when sand was free,” observed Gopal Reddy of Kadapa, who booked sand online for his new house.
Even as consumers in other districts are finding it difficult to book sand online, in East Godavari, the authorities are continuing the manual booking in most of the places.
Out of 33 sand reaches, 17 are currently operational. When TNIE visited Korumilli sand reach in Kapaleswarapuram mandal, consumers were seen paying Rs 3,375 in the form of demand draft for two units of sand.
The sand is brought from the reach across the Godavari river in a boat and Rs 1,600 has to be paid to the boat operator for one lorry load of sand.
The transport charge from that point onwards to anywhere within 50 km radius will be anywhere between Rs 7,000 and Rs 12,000. Most of the consumers, who are unable to go through the entire process, are reportedly paying a lump sum to the contractors, who deliver sand at the doorstep by charging a higher price.
In Guntur district, where the maximum sand reaches are in Krishna delta, the sand has become a premium product.
Finding it difficult to place orders for sand online, most of the consumers are preferring to pay whatever the price the contractor is asking. In Tenali region, people are shelling out Rs12,000 per lorry load (9 tonnes) of sand, while in Narasaraopet region sand is available for Rs 1,200- Rs 2,000 per tonne.
“The price of sand is decreasing as more sand is available now. It was Rs 2,200 per tonne last week and now it has come down to `1,400 per tonne,” explained C Koteswara Rao, a builder.
There are 19 reaches in the district, of them seven are operational. Other reaches are expected to be operational by month-end.
In Prakasam district, the situation of sand availability is improving and now 65 per cent of the demand is being met. There have been no complaints about charging more than specified amount at the sand reaches, but the cost of transportation has increased.
The situation in North Andhra districts of Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam is no different. The sand availability is improving, but people are finding it difficult to book it online.
“I placed the order on October 11, but got the sand on October 25,” complained M Pydiraju of Adarsanagar in Visakhapatnam. There are several people like Pydiraju. However, Raja Reddy in Srikakulam says the situation is improving and they are getting sand much quicker now.
Quality of the sand is another issue, a concern raised by people across the State. Several masons say that the sand available now is not good for construction.
With the State government focusing more on the sand supply, special teams have been formed under the supervision of higher officials in all the 13 districts to ensure that no illegal sand sales take place and cross-border sand transportation is prevented.
Things to remember
The consumer needs to bring sand order receipt along with his own vehicle to stockyard within three days of placing the order in view of operational efficiency at the stockyards, only tippers up to 10 tyres will be permitted and no long body lorries will be allowed Sand bookings will be accepted from 12 pm to 6 pm during working days
Who is General Consumer?
Any individual who intends to purchase sand for domestic use, such as the construction of a house and carrying out repairs, etc. is classified as ‘General Consumer’.
A ‘General Consumer’ is eligible to purchase a maximum quantity of 500 metric tonnes of sand in 12 months, provided the required sand quantity is certified by relevant authorities