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Free sand policy a failure, alleges Vishnukumar Raju

Free sand policy a failure, alleges Vishnukumar Raju
Highlights

Illegal sand mining and collection of high prices from public by sand mafia dominated the proceedings in the State Assembly during the Question Hour on Tuesday. 

Amaravati: Illegal sand mining and collection of high prices from public by sand mafia dominated the proceedings in the State Assembly during the Question Hour on Tuesday.

Some TDP legislators pointed out that the government was not implementing free sand policy properly. BJP MLA Vishnukumar Raju asked the government to take measures to protect people from the harassment by the sand mafia. The members cornered the government by comparing the price of sand during the free sand policy regime against the price of sand earlier.

At first, MLA Ramanamurthy raised the subject by demanding an inquiry into the illegal sand mining in Vamshadara River at Madapam. He said that everyday 150 lorries were carrying sand illegally to Visakhapatnam without proper permits.

The MLA expressed concern over damaging of roads in his constituency limits due to the movement of illegal sand lorries and requested the government to sanction special funds for roads maintenance.

BJP floor leader Vishnukumar Raju said that free sand scheme was a total failure in the State right from Kurnool to Vizianagaram. Especially, the builders were facing severe challenges by procuring sand at higher prices.

The people are being charged Rs 11,000 for each lorry sand against its original cost of Rs 3,000 for transportation and loading purpose. If anyone opposed to pay the amount and opted for own transportation, the sand lorries were being stopped at Chilakalapalem Centre for more than three days raising several queries, he explained.

But Minister for Mines and Geology Sujay Krishna Ranga Rao explained that there was no chance for illegal sand operations by claiming the government has appointed persons to regulate free sand and record the operations in tabs.

However, TDP MLA V Ramakrishna Babu extended support to the issue raised by BJP MLA Vishnukumar Raju and pointed out that sand is being supplied at higher price. He pointed out that earlier on several occasions he had lodged a complaint with the Minister for Mines. Earlier, the price of a 10-tyre truck load of sand was Rs 12,000 and now it has gone up to Rs 18,000.

Other TDP legislators Prabhakara Chowdary, Geeta and Appala Naidu pointed out that the common people were suffering due to high prices of sand. They opined that the free sand policy was being misused and requested the government to take action on illegal sand mining.

Speaker Kodela Sivaprasada Rao also expressed concern over collection of high amounts for supply of sand. Intervening on the issue, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu directed the Minister for Mines to explain the measures being taken to curb illegal sand operations.

Though the Minister explained the steps being taken by the government to prevent illegal sand transport, some of the members were not satisfied with his reply.

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