They took part in the auctions on November 22

The district authorities were taken aback after the first and second bidders of the Sanagapadu sand reach in Kanchikacherla area turned out to be white ration cardholders, falling in the below poverty line category. The bidders took part in the auction on November 22 in the city, but nobody came forward to deposit money to claim the lease on reach.

First bidder Sk. Jani Miya, who quoted an amount of Rs.15.15 crore for the 1,088 hectares sand reach, was found to be a poor person hailing from Krishnapuram in Mellacheruvu mandal of neighbouring Nalgonda district. In his application, there is a mention of his being a farm hand but he could not be prevented from participating as the rules give a chance to every person to take part in auction. Following this, the authorities have decided to slap criminal cases against the defaulting bidders and also defer further auction of all sand quarries in the district till the new auction rules being mooted by the government come into effect soon.

Open auction

In the proposed new system, a suggestion is given to cancel the secret tender box system in preference for the open auction for the sake of total transparency.

Joint Collector Gaurav Uppal told The Hindu that the information regarding these bidders was being provided to the Income Tax Department so that the officials concerned would be able to find out the actual persons behind these false bidders and make them accountable to law. “Though very poor, these bidders are ready to lose earnest money. Obviously some others are there behind these persons. New rules are expected to prevent these unhealthy activities,” he added.

The second bidder, R. Narasimha Rao, who hails from Kanchikacherla, is also found to be a white ration cardholder. He bid for Rs.10.36 crore. The third bidder, who hails from the Nandigama area, is stated to have informed that he has an annual income of Rs.40,000, which means he is also from a BPL family.