VIJAYAWADA: The negotiations of State officials with two Central agencies on sand mining are underway. Officials said the discussions will continue for a few more days to arrive at a conclusion. As per the revised sand policy, the State government has decided to give the task of sand excavation, storage and sale to Central government agencies, subjected to certain terms and conditions.
In case of no response from the Central agencies, the State government will entrust the sand operations with private agencies after inviting technical and commercial bids.
As per the plan, State officials wrote to as many as eight Central agencies, informing them about the proposal to give the sand operations in the State and the terms and conditions. The deadline for the Central agencies to give their response ended on November 18 and the State government got responses from two agencies — NMDC and MSDC.
When contacted, Principal Secretary (Mines) Gopal Krishna Dwivedi said that the talks were going on with the two Central Agencies, which responded positively to the proposal of the State government. A final decision can be taken only after both the parties arrive at a mutual agreement, he asserted.
"As of now, we have received response from the Central agencies and we have to take up further negotiations. It may take up to a week to come to a final decision," he explained.The future course of action will depend on the outcome of the ongoing discussions with the Central agencies, he said.
Based on the recommendations made by the Group of Ministers, the State government recently made amendments to the sand policy introduced a year ago. As per the old policy, the AP Mineral Development Corporation was entrusted with sand excavation, storage and transportation.
The customers were allowed to book sand online. However, aimed at plugging the loopholes in the policy implementation, the government revised the policy based on the recommendations of the GoM. Besides providing an offline booking facility to customers and allowing them to arrange their own transportation facilities, the government decided to give first priority to Central agencies/PSUs in sand operations in the State.