Replaces auctioning of reaches by draw of lots, bans inter-State transportation

The State Government on Sunday unveiled the much-awaited sand policy which replaces auctioning of reaches by draw of lots, bans inter-State transportation of sand as also utilisation of machinery in riverbeds.

At a press conference here, Minister for Mines and Geology, Galla Aruna Kumari announced details of the new policy which was formulated by a seven-member Cabinet sub-committee headed by her. She said the new policy would come into effect “as early as possible” after framing of the rules. The basic objective was to ensure availability of sand at the lowest possible price to the common man.

She said Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy had directed the sub-committee to ensure that sand prices came down and were within the reach of the poor. On his instructions, it was also being examined if sand could be declared as an essential commodity and brought under the purview of Essential Commodities Act.

As per the new policy, the district authorities will ensure that the sale price in the sand reaches did not exceed 20 per cent of the SSR rate of Rs.325 per cubic metre. The sand quarrying must be carried out only for the quantity fixed in the mining plan and it should not exceed the thickness stipulated in the WALTA Act.

In the tribal areas, the reaches would be allotted to local societies by the gram sabhas with the cooperation of AP Mining Development Corporation and ITDA.

The sand excavated from reservoirs by removing the silt would be used for government works. Farmers would be permitted to remove the silt in patta lands after payment of seigniorage fee.

The sand near the water bodies falling under a mandal jurisdiction could be used free of cost for local needs and Indiramma housing without paying the seigniorage fee.

Referring to ban on inter-state sand transportation, Ms. Aruna Kumari said stringent action would be taken if sand was illegally transported. The vehicle and machinery would be confiscated and the sand seized.

She said the lease holders would have to sell sand as per the new policy. The new policy would be reviewed after a year. The Government was also contemplating to encourage use of rock sand.