Andhra Pradesh government is set to introduce a new legislation to regulate mining, transportation, and the price of sand. Due to the shortage of sand in the state, a meeting was held where Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy told officials that his government will bring a new law under which stringent measures will be introduced against the violators. "An Ordinance will be brought out immediately which will be converted into law during the ensuing assembly session," Reddy was quoted saying by an official release. The Chief Minister said that the Ordinance will specify the land fixation. He further added that it would give the powers to district collectors and concerned officials at constituency and district levels. He added that the sand distribution should be drastically increased.
"A toll-free number should be set up where any complaints on irregularities in the sale of sand should be immediately attended to. Vigilance wing should be strengthened to check smuggling and CCTV cameras should be set up at all the reaches," Reddy was quoted as saying. Officials have apprised the Chief Minister that 83 of the 275 sand reaches have been active and the supply of sand has been increased from 41,000 tonnes to 69,000 tonnes per day as the number of reaches was increased from 61 to 83. An official stated that supply can be increased to two-three lakh tonnes a day if the weather improves in the next 15 to 30 days.
The Chief Minister also hit out at the Opposition for politicising the issue of sand shortage in the state. Opposition parties have slammed the government for the alleged slowdown in the real estate sector due to sand scarcity in the state. Former Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu has announced to undertake a day-long fast on November 14 in the wake of the sand scarcity in the state, that has allegedly caused a slowdown in the constructing industry and also led to suicide by some workers in October.
Jana Sena party leader Pawan Kalyan is set to undertake a long march on November 10 for the same issue, followed by Naidu's fasting on November 14. BJP has also organised a protest 'sand satyagraha' against the government's failure to address the issue. The government has maintained that it is taking every step to tackle the problem.
(With ANI inputs)